Oct 17, 2023
Officials: Wood products close to heat sparked Sable Street fire
Aug 5, 2023 News Photo by Steve SchulwitzFirefighters from the Alpena Fire Department prepare to enter a burning building on Sable Street on Thursday. The fire was reported shortly after 5 p.m. The
Aug 5, 2023
News Photo by Steve SchulwitzFirefighters from the Alpena Fire Department prepare to enter a burning building on Sable Street on Thursday. The fire was reported shortly after 5 p.m. The cause of the fire is not known.
ALPENA — Wood products situated too close to a heat source are believed to be the cause of a Thursday afternoon fire that required a full department call-in for members of the Alpena Fire Department, officials said on Friday.
Shortly after 5 p.m., Thursday evening, the Alpena Fire Department was paged to 307 Sable Street, which is next to Al’s Pool and Spa with reports of smoke coming from the roof of Speedy Blaze — a business that manufactures and packages wood products for pellet burning type stoves and other types of wood heating needs.
In a press release, Fire Chief Rob Edmonds said upon arrival to the scene, crews reported smoke coming from the structure with no visible flames. A full department call-in for off duty personnel was requested as well as backup from the Alpena CRTC for a rapid intervention team for firefighter safety.
Firefighters struggled to enter the structure upon arrival, as the building’s exterior doors had limited access which delayed entry into the building.
One door — which firefighters pried open — was blocked so it wouldn’t open far enough for firefighters to enter with their gear. Large amounts of lumber material was also stored outside of the business.
Fire officials and city officials are expected to inspect the structure of the fire on Monday, Edmonds said.
“We are going to do a safety walk through, but it isn’t so much for punitive reasons as it is for education and fire safety,” he said.
Eventually, firefighters were able to gain entry through a door on the far side of the structure opposite of the fire and located the fire, which was determined to remain confined in a wood type drying room.
After beginning to attack the fire with hoses, Edmonds said the building was ventilated, but crews looked for extensions of fire into other areas of the building while extinguishing the fire at the source.
He said there was minimal structural damage to the property but moderate to heavy smoke damage as a result.
“The fire was contained to the drying room where approximately 12-14 metal crates of wood pieces were being dried for processing,” he said. “The cause of the fire is believed to be from wood products being placed too close to the heat source causing ignition of one of the crates of wood pieces.”
The full department page pulled together all of the resources and manpower the department has, Edmonds said. The initial response included nine firefighters who were on duty when the fire was reported, but another 14 off-duty and auxiliary personnel were called in to provide support.
Edmonds said besides the CRTC, the Alpena Police Department, and Alpena Power Company also assisted at the scene.
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