Fire destroys MI Manufacturer’s Warehouse

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 @ 10:03 AM gHale

Firefighters sift through the remains of a manufacturing warehouse after an industrial fire at MTI Metalcasting in Albion, MI.
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An Albion, MI, manufacturing warehouse, which formerly stored coal and now housed machine parts and supplies, ended up destroyed in an early-morning fire Thursday.

At about 6:30 a.m. a storage warehouse at MTI Metalcasting caught fire after a worker reset a tripped circuit breaker, said Albion Public Safety Deputy Chief Mike Johnson.

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Employees arriving to work noticed there was no power to the building’s outside lights and discovered the circuit breaker controlling the lights tripped, Johnson said.

Sparks erupted from the circuit breaker when it ended up reset, igniting something in the warehouse, Johnson said.

By the time fire crews arrived at the scene, flames were erupting from the rafters and more than a quarter of the warehouse ended up destroyed, Johnson said.

Previously, the warehouse stored coal, so it was easy for the fire to start and spread quickly, Johnson said.

Privately-owned hydrants were unusable and in need of maintenance, Johnson said. Fire crews had to fight the fire with a “daisy chain” of several long hoses and trucks connected to the closest public hydrant more than 100 feet away on Austin Avenue, he said.

By 8:30 a.m., firefighters extinguished the blaze with only a quarter of the warehouse still standing.

No one suffered an injury in the incident.

Due to the extent of the building’s damage, Johnson said there is a good chance the cause of the fire may remain undetermined. He did, however, rule out foul play.

“Well this certainly isn’t the best way to start the morning,” said Plant Manager Annette Collier. “Right now we’re just waiting for fire crews to finish so we can figure out what to do next.”

MTI Metalcasting, a subsidiary of American Colloid Company, specializes in producing sand molding materials for foundry molds used to create various machine parts for companies throughout the world.

The Albion facility is one of 14 locations owned by the company.

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