Bathroom damaged in fire at SL Township factory

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:10 PM

Firefighters from three departments responded to the furniture making company after employees called in the fire at about 9:45 p.m.

Whitehall resident Joe Mulder said he was working the closest to the men's bathroom in the middle of the building when he smelled smoke.

He opened the door to the bathroom.

"It looked like someone was burning a tire in there," he said.

Jim Tober of Muskegon Heights said they immediately called 911 and evacuated the building.

"Once we see it, we get on the intercom and yell 'fire, fire, fire' three times and get out of the building and corral in one spot," he said.

Stalzer said the employee's efficiency in calling for help and getting out of the building was instrumental in keeping the damage to a minimum. It also helped the firefighters get straight to the fire without having to worry about getting people out of the building.

Firefighters doused a fire about 6-by-6 feet in size with a fire extinguisher, Stalzer said. The fire was small enough, and put out so quickly that a nearby sprinkler did not activate.

Damage was contained primarily to the ceiling tiles and an exhaust fan in the ceiling. Some of the fire also fell down and damaged the toilet below, he said.

The fire may have been caused by an electrical problem, Stalzer said. It is still under investigation.

Assisting at the scene were Ferrysburg and Crockery Township fire departments. North Ottawa Community Hospital ambulance and the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department also responded.

Firefighters were on the scene a little over two hours, checking for hot spots and assisting employees with clean-up.

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