Multiple businesses damaged in fire; several factors work against firefighters


Firefighters had to shuttle in water to put out a massive fire that destroyed two businesses and caused damage to a third near Holland. Michigan on Wednesday morning. The fire seems to have originated in a plastic grinding machine at Trin Polymers.

Not only was an available firefighting water supply an issue, but Olive Township Fire Department Chief Duane Wolters said the sprinkler system wasn’t working at the time, when the fire started around 5 a.m. Wednesday morning.

That’s because private fire hydrants on the property were deactivated for maintenance, which caused the building’s fire suppression system to go down. Wolters said Olive Township was “recently made aware” of that deactivation.

After Trin Polymers caught fire, the fire spread to two neighboring businesses, Magnum Equipment and Holland Pallet Repair. Magnum Equipment sustained damage, while Trin Polymers and Holland Pallet Repair were destroyed.

In all, 11 fire departments were called to help fight the fire.

All three businesses were evacuated and no employees were injured. However, two firefighters had to be taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation and another pre-existing issue that was aggravated by the fire, a release from the Olive Township Fire Department said.

At one time, the plume of smoke was so large, it appeared on National Weather Service radar.



Always note where grinding equipment is located when doing a pre-incident plan or inspection. Fires can easily occur in almost any kind of grinding equipment, and plastics re-grind areas are especially susceptible to fire.  In these areas, fire suppression equipment can play a key role in quickly controlling a small fire and preventing the spread to other areas.

Also, always be sure to pay attention to the types of businesses that are adjacent to each other. In this case, a plastics manufacturer and a wood pallet manufacturer were located immediately adjacent to each other, indicating that any fire situation at this location would involve a heavy fire load and would require a large volume of water. Be sure to plan accordingly for water shuttles and supply configurations.

Finally, one report notes that the employees of Magnum Equipment worked quickly to move equipment out of the building, in an effort to limit the losses. While this is a beneficial tactic with regard to reducing fire load and loss, it could potentially create bottlenecks and perhaps even a rescue situation at a fire scene. Be sure to discuss emergency response plans to determine if employees can be expected to perform loss control measures, or if they will simply evacuate and wait for the fire department to arrive.


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