Jun. 17, 2013 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
Michigan State Police Fire Marshal’s office will continue to investigate the cause of an early morning fire Sunday at the downtown Plymouth Fire Station where damage was estimated to be more than $500,000.
The fire was reportedly contained to the apparatus bay, attached to both the police station and city hall. A newer model Pierce mini-pumper fire truck was destroyed and structural damage reported to the building, which was remodeled recently. City of Northville Fire Chief Jim Allen said that the fire may have started inside the fire truck, but no definitive cause would be established until the state investigation is complete in about two weeks.
According to Plymouth City Manager Paul Sincock, officers from the adjoining police department smelled smoke about 4 a.m. and went into the fire department area to investigate. The officers reported that the building was filled with heavy, black roiling smoke and immediately called the City of Northville Fire Department which handles fire emergencies in the City of Plymouth. The City of Plymouth ended a joint fire agreement with Plymouth Township in January last year and entered an agreement with the on-call City of Northville Fire Department to handle fire emergencies.
On-call Northville department personnel responded but deter- mined that the actual apparatus necessary to extinguish the blaze was trapped inside the burning building. Northville city firefighters called Plymouth Township for help and all four of the township firefighters on duty immediately responded.
Plymouth Township firefighters were able to bring the fire under control without calling for mutual aid from surrounding communities. Northville on-call staff had already removed an ambulance and put a pumper truck removed from the building into service to fight the fire.
While waiting for help from Plymouth Township, the on-call Northville responders entered the smoke-filled garage, without safety gear, and managed to recover one of the three parked fire vehicles. Volunteers and on-call firefighters were observed making several trips in and out of the fire-filled building, without any protective gear or breathing apparatus by witnesses.
Sincock agreed with Allen that it appeared that the fire had started in the engine area of the fire truck.
LuAnne DeBeliso, who lives across the street from the station-garage, observed heavy smoke coming from the building after being awakened by her daughter and the sound of the sirens.
First responders at the scene reported there were no sprinklers going off, nor were there any audible alarms.
After the fire, DeBeliso, a resident since 1985 and owner of Piano Crafters on Davis Street for 29 years, said she was surprised to learn the city no longer has a full-time fire department.
“Do I feel safe now? Only about as safe as if there’s no fire station there at all.” DeBeliso said. Sincock estimated the damage to the fire truck at $400,000, without the auxiliary equipment, and the heat stress fractures to the building at about $100,000, in addition to the other miscellaneous damage to the building and equipment. Sincock also said the city asked the Michigan State Police Fire Marshal to investigate the cause of the fire, and had obtained permission to use the Lake Pointe Fire Station No. 2 on Wilcox Road to park the rescued fire vehicles. That station was closed by Plymouth Township officials at the end of the joint fire agreement.
“We’re operating as usual,” Sincock said.
The city is privately insured, Sincock said, for full replacement value with a $500 deductible on the loss. He said he was meeting with insurance adjusters on Tuesday to assess the damages.
There were no reported injuries.
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