Fire forces plant evacuation

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:30 AM

Scott Moore of Sparta was running the paint line with his 15-person crew about 6 p.m. when he saw smoke coming from some machinery across the aisle at the Spring Lake Township plant.

“We kinda' seen a spark and we seen it smoking,” Moore said. “I said, ‘Guys, shut the line down,’ and told everyone to get out.”

Stanley Watson and Steve Lane said they saw fire shooting out of the machinery up to about 10 feet high.

“All of a sudden, the flame come up. It was time to go,” Watson said.

Part-owner Nick Lardo said between 60 and 80 people were working in the building at the time, and everyone safely evacuated.

There was intense smoke coming from a turret — which is a housing that collects dust from a laser cutter, Lardo said.

The laser cuts metal, and the air system sucks up the dust and stores it. The collector is emptied every week, Lardo said.

Lardo said he was not sure how a spark got in there.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire in the collector, and then checked the building and roof for any possible fire extension, said Lt. Scott Smith of the Spring Lake Township Fire Department.

The building was ventilated and firefighters cleared the scene about 7:30 p.m.

Lardo said he believed there was no significant damage from the fire.

Ferrysburg and Crockery firefighters also responded to the scene, as well as North Ottawa Community Hospital paramedics and the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department.

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