Criminal probe underway into Manistique fire

MANISTIQUE — A criminal investigation is underway concerning a fire at U.P. Paper LLc in Manistique.

A criminal investigation into the origin and cause of the fire is ongoing by Manistique Public Safety officers, according to a press release from the Manistique Public Safety Department. individuals of interest have been identified, but no details as to who or why will be released pending a completed investigation.

It is to be noted that no foul play is suspected involving U.P. Paper LLC or any of its employees. The investigation has found that the suspects have no affiliation with the company or any of their employees, investigators said.

The blaze destroyed recycled cardboard valued at $100,000.

On Friday, February 9, at approximately 3 p.m. Manistique Public Safety Department was dispatched to a report of a fire in the outdoor product storage area of U.P. Paper LLc. Dispatch information indicated that it was stored cardboard materials burning, and the flames were approximately 10 feet high.

Upon arrival responding units observed that the fire was burning in storage pad unit number 4. On site there are five total pads with metal canopies used to store compressed bales of recycled cardboard and other items. Each storage area measures approximately 150 feet by 115 feet. The five storage pads are separated by approximately 75 feet.

Immediately Manistique Public Safety command requested both pumper and tanker support from surrounding agencies, including agencies from Delta County. Firefighters from Manistique Public Safety and the Manistique Volunteer Fire Department immediately attacked the fire using multiple master streams.

The cardboard being stored was in the form of tightly banded 1,100 pound bales. An estimated 1,200 bales costing almost $100,000 were destroyed in the fire. Fire crews from Schoolcraft and Delta counties sprayed approximately 1,000,000 gallons of water on the burning materials.

Manistique Public Safety received assistance at the scene from multiple local fire departments, support agencies and employees of U.P. Paper LLC. Fire departments who responded and assisted included lnwood Township Volunteer Fire Department, Hiawatha Township Volunteer Fire Department, Thompson Township Volunteer Fire Department, Doyle Township Volunteer Fire Department, Garden Township Volunteer Fire Department, Ensign Township Volunteer Fire Department, and Nahma Township Volunteer Fire Department. Also assisting on scene were staff from Manistique EMS, the city of Manistique Water and Wastewater Departments, along with Schoolcraft County Emergency Manager Chris Peterson.

Primary fire crews remained on scene for approximately 18 hours, before turning the scene over to U.P. Paper representatives who continued to overhaul the smoldering materials. While on scene firefighters were thankful to receive food and beverages from the U.P. Chapter of Red Cross, private citizens, and businesses.

No injuries to firefighters or support personnel was reported.


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