Spring Lake Township Fire Chief Rick Nuvill said although smoke was heavy, the main fire was mostly out when firefighters arrived.
Nuvill said it appeared that a hydraulic line started leaking and the oil ignited due to extreme heat in the area. That caught dust on fire and the fire was sucked up through the exhaust fans.
Plant Manager Mark George confirmed that three exhaust fans, some lights and wiring were destroyed in the fire. Damage was estimated at less than $5,000, he said.
George agreed that the fire may have been caused by a hydraulic line leak, but that the cause was still under investigation.
Monday’s fire was similar to one at the plant in July 2011, when seven area fire departments were on the scene for hours to battle a series of small blazes in the plant.
On Monday, Spring Lake Township was assisted by the Crockery Township and Ferrysburg fire departments at the scene.
Nuvill said firefighters remained on site for three hours because the work was so labor-intensive. While one group of firefighters was lifting dry chemical extinguishers to the roof, another group was inside crawling on the beams to get all the fire out, Nuvill said.
George said there was an accumulation of dust in the beams throughout the plant, largely due to the facility’s age.
“Part of the facility was built in the 1940s,” the plant manager said. “It was added onto almost every decade since then.”
He said removing the dust from the roof area is part of the corrective actions being planned.
George said everyone was evacuated safely from the facility and that production was down for only two hours.
Apple Drive was closed to traffic for the three hours that firefighters were on the scene.
North Ottawa Community Hospital paramedics and the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department also assisted at the scene.