Massive fire destroys Allegan metal company
ALLEGAN TOWNSHIP--Firefighters were on scene of a massive fire at Allegan Metal Finishing Company at 1274 M-89 (Lincoln Road) in Allegan for nearly 18 hours. Firefighters were called to the scene, on the south side of the road, east of 113th Avenue, at 1:40 a.m. Sunday, March 15.
Although the business was destroyed, the office area was contained. Allegan Tubular Products next door was also saved.
Allegan fire district chairman Jon Cook said with winds coming from the west and southwest, residents to the east of the fire were voluntarily evacuated, including Village East Mobile Home Park. Scott Corbin, Allegan County Emergency Management director, confirmed the order was directed at residents within a half-mile downwind of the facility.
A Red Cross shelter was set up at Pine Trails Elementary School where about 30 to 50 people and pets sought shelter.
M-89 was closed in both directions near the fire until nearly 8 p.m.
While it is too early to determine the cause of the fire, several explosions were reported which included liquid propane tanks and products used for zinc plating processes.
Cook said six departments were on scene for more than 16 hours with water tankers steadily rotating to knock down the smoke.
No injuries were reported.
"The sad thing is this has been a family-owned business since 1958—what a heartache," Cook said. "This also puts about 80 people out of work."
Allegan Metal Finishing Company employs about 80 people and sister company Allegan Tubular Products employs 80 people who will also be affected by the loss.
Cook said the company will have a meeting for its employees and Michigan Works to discuss their next steps on Monday, March 16, at 10:30 a.m. at Blessed Sacrament Church, 110 N. Cedar St., Allegan. Michigan Works Kent, Allegan and Barry counties will be on hand to help employees apply for unemployment and for those who want to explore other employment opportunities.
The company foreman praises his employees in this clip.
View the reaction from a longtime employee as she deals with the grief of losing a job she has had since graduating high school.
By Monday, the company's future remained uncertain.
(Editor Ryan Lewis contributed to this report.)