No sprinklers in Ottawa County business gutted by fire

Firefighters extinguish flames at Trin Polymers.

OLIVE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A smoky scene still lingered over an area just north of Holland Wednesday afternoon after a nasty fire heavily damaged three businesses.

The fire started around 5 a.m. Wednesday at Trin Polymers, quickly spreading to Holland Pallet Repair and Magnum Equipment, located on Barry Street, just west of US-31, in Olive Township.

Workers at Trin Polymer were in the middle of production when something went wrong.

>>PHOTOS: Massive business fire near Holland

“One of the machines in the plastic company caught fire and from there, it stated the rest of the building on fire,” said Nate Burchett, a Holland Pallet employee. “Our supervisor was already inside the building on his Hilo and he said he went back and said the roof above the machine was on fire.”

Employees at all three companies escaped unharmed.

But firefighters had a number of challenges. The fire spread quickly and while the sprinkler system might have slowed the fire’s progression, they system wasn’t working – and neither were fire hydrants on the property.

The building’s owner, who is responsible for the on-site system, had requested the water be shut off over a year ago to do maintenance.

It’s not clear if the maintenance was completed. What is clear is that the water was never turned back on.

24 Hour News 8 attempted to contact the building owner to find out why the water wasn’t turned back on, but did not have any luck.

Wednesday morning, the fire ran quick and hot.

“[The building] has three or four fire walls,” said Olive Township Fire Chief Duane Wolters. “It breached two of them and at the last one — we were able to stop it at that point.”

Smoke and exhaustion were also factors for firefighters; three were taken to the hospital to be checked out. Two had been released as of late Wednesday afternoon and information on the third was not available.

The thick, black smoke produced by the blaze was also a concern. Ottawa County hazmat crews set up air quality monitors in the area, but none of the levels presented a danger to firefighters or the public, according to official.

Eleven fire departments from all over Ottawa County responded to the fire. About a dozen tankers were used as a way to get around the lack of hydrants close to the fire.

They were still running water Wednesday afternoon.

“I know I that I talked to one of the tankers a little while ago and he was on his fifteenth load,” said Blendon Township Fire Chief Kurt Gernaat. “And we’ve got 10 or 12 in the rotation.”

Most crews had cleared the scene by 5 p.m. Wednesday – a full 12 hours after the fire started.

Early Wednesday evening, the remains continued to smolder.

With no other structures in danger, Olive Township Fire Chief Duane Wolters said they’ll let it burn itself out.

Holland Pallet Repair’s previous location on Henry Court in Zeeland also caught fire in March.

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