Fire crews contain blaze in Jackson County commercial building
Jackson — Gusts of wind stoked a massive fire Tuesday that quickly spread through a 200,000 square-foot abandoned factory, causing large plumes of black smoke to billow from the facility and prompting warnings from officials about air quality.
The fire in the former factory near Cooper and North streets, just north of downtown Jackson, broke out before noon Tuesday, said Jackson Fire Department Assistant Chief Joel Skrypec. Crews spent more than three hours fighting the fire, he said.
“It was a very old building, we’re guessing from the 1940s or 1930s, and a number of companies have been through there,” Skrypec said. “The fire’s under investigation, and the cause is unknown, but the weather today definitely didn’t help. It was windy, and that helped the fire spread quickly.”
Skrypec said four firefighters were injured Tuesday. “It wasn’t severe; they were all treated at the scene by EMS for heat exhaustion.”
Crews continued working into the night Tuesday to “put out hot spots,” Skrypec said.
“The bulk of the fire is down but we’re keeping people there. Since it’s a vacant building it’s not worth sending anyone in there, but we’ve still got (aerial ladder trucks) out there.”
City officials said on social media that they plan to continue to monitor the air quality but that they had not found any immediate health issues.
“The air quality will continue to be monitored,” the city said on social media.
Images posted online showed massive, dark smoke plumes obscuring the property and painting the skyline black as the sounds of crews’ water hoses and crackling flames could be heard.
Residents were advised Tuesday afternoon to stay away from the area, and to close windows and turn off air conditioning if their concerns about air quality persisted.
Michigan State Police is investigating and the Environmental Protection Agency has been advised to monitor any environmental impacts, the city said.
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Staff Writer George Hunter contributed.