Firefighters battle massive business fire in Muskegon

Firefighters on scene of a fire at Muskegon Castings Corporation on S. Sheridan Drive. (March 15, 2017)


MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Firefighters worked for hours to extinguish a massive fire at a business in Muskegon Wednesday morning.

The fire started around 10:45 p.m. Tuesday at Muskegon Castings Corporation, located in the 2300 block of S. Sheridan Drive.

Firefighters on scene of a fire at Muskegon Castings Corporation on S. Sheridan Drive. (March 15, 2017)

Scott Hemmelsbach, the acting fire marshal for the city of Muskegon, said machinery is believed to have sparked the fire. He added that there was also an explosion.

Employees initially tried to to put out the fire, but it grew too fast. The flames eventually spread to the ceiling and roof making it difficult for firefighters to knock down.

He says 40 employees who were inside all made it out safely.

“The flames were very intense in back area, the smoke conditions had made it into a zero visibility atmosphere where they [firefighters] couldn’t enter the building, which made it very difficult to locate the fire,” Hemmelsbach explained.

The company also uses wood plastic and cardboard which fueled the fire and put firefighters in a defensive mode, according to Hemmelsbach.

“The fire spread throughout the building very quickly,” he explained. “For the firefighters, as far as visibility, there was none and the heat was very intense.”

The building is believed to be a total loss.

Firefighters on scene of a fire at Muskegon Castings Corporation on S. Sheridan Drive. (March 15, 2017)

Hemmelsbach says equipment failure most likely started the fire but the cause remains under investigation.

Smoke was still pouring out of the building around 9 a.m.

Wednesday afternoon, authorities said crews dismantling what remained of the structure ruptured a gas line, rekindling the fire. They soon knocked it down again.

Drivers were asked to avoid the area near S. Sheridan Drive and Olthoff Drive while emergency responders were on scene.