MENOMINEE, Mich. (WZMQ) – Fire departments from all over the Upper Peninsula have been called to a paper mill that is continuing to burn Monday. Departments have been saying this blaze could take weeks to put out.
The fire began last week at a warehouse near Resolute Forest Products. The cities of Menominee and Marinette have both issued and canceled shelter in place orders for residents over the weekend due to the blowing smoke.
Marquette Township Fire Chief Dan Shanahan and the crew in Marquette Township started receiving calls for this disaster early Friday morning. Filled with paper, the mill continues to have a long-standing fuel source and will likely burn for weeks. Marquette County has now sent five departments down to the fire to contain the flames. Shanahan suspects this will take weeks to subdue.
“It is that bad… it’s a very, very large building, and I’m guest-imating, I was told it was 800 feet deep, and I’m going to guess close to a half a mile wide.”
Shanahan said their five aerial trucks, spraying over 1,000 gallons of water, still weren’t enough.
The cause for this fire is still under investigation as the building was fully armed with a sprinkler system and is still being treated.
“Unusual to lose a building of that size that is fully sprinkled, so obviously a lot of heat, There is a heavy fire load in the building, but what started it, I don’t know if they’ll find that out,” said Shanahan.
Menominee County 911 posted to Facebook Sunday night asking for community support. A Google Doc has been put together for people to commit to bringing meals to the dozens of firefighters out there. At this point, they don’t need any more drinks or water, just in need of some food. For more information on ‘Meals for Firefighters,’ click here.