Commercial van destroyed by fire outside Leppink's

Becky Vargo • Jun 13, 2018 at 10:29 PM

FERRYSBURG — Nobody was injured when a commercial van caught fire Wednesday night outside the Leppink’s grocery store in Ferrysburg.

The store was evacuated and closed for business when the fire started shortly after 9 p.m. The store normally closes at 10 p.m.

Ferrysburg firefighters had just returned from Spring Lake Heritage Festival’s Family Fun Night when the alarm was dispatched.

“As you can see, Ferrysburg Fire was right on top of things,” said Sgt. Jason Kik of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office. “That fast response saved it from getting worse than it is.”

A cloud of heavy black smoke was visible when firefighters responded to the store located on 174th Avenue, west of U.S. 31 and south of VanWagoner Road. The first responders to the scene reported the van fully involved in fire and a possible extension of fire into the building.

At that point, mutual aid was requested from the Spring Lake and Crockery Township departments for a possible structure fire.

Ferrysburg Fire Chief Mike Olthof said the seals around a delivery door on the north side of the building were melted and a rack loaded with boxes from a recent delivery had started on fire.

“(Firefighters) dragged that cart out just in time,” Olthof said.

Some water and smoke did get inside the delivery area.

Officials said they were waiting for the store’s owner to arrive and determine when the store would be back open.

Olthof said the van belonged to a company doing power washing at Leppink’s. Workers were refueling a machine inside the van, spilled some fuel and the fire started, the chief said. The van had recently been filled with gas and there were containers of gasoline inside the vehicle for the machines.

The fire blazed and sparks flew as firefighters quickly connected hoses to trucks and hydrants to put it out. Some firefighters grabbed shovels and made a dirt dam around a drain to keep spilled fuel from going down the drain.

The Ferrysburg Department of Public Works also responded to the scene to handle fuel spill mitigation, Kik said.

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