Montague factory catches fire two days in a row

Muskegon County

MONTAGUE, Mich. (WOODTV) — A fire on the night of Christmas ripped through a business in Montague, with crews having to spend a couple of days keeping flames contained.

A Whitehall Products factory located on Water Street caught fire Saturday night. There were six different departments who responded to assist the Montague Fire District.

“This one was one of the hottest fires we’ve been in and one of the bigger ones size wise,” Director of White Lake Ambulance Johnathon Degen said.

There were many in the town who heard the sirens and were overwhelmed by the smell of smoke.

The owner of ShadeTree Creations, Shelby Winston, rushed to the scene to take photographs of the firefighters at work. He was impressed with how their response.

“There was no frantic panic, everyone was working professionals,” Winston said. “The cool thing was a lot of communication. Right away you could see their helmets were different departments from different townships and different towns so it was cool to see collectively a bunch of groups working together as one.”

Montague Fire Chief Ron Anderson says it took about six hours to control the fire on Saturday, and to their surprise they had an even greater problem the next day when another fire broke out.

A photo of the fire. (courtesy Mary Ellen Sherwood)

“It was a harder fire to fight just because it was in the attic area so we had a hard time getting to that fire,” Degen said.

Officials don’t know why the fire rekindled and they say there was no indication that there would be any more issues when they left the scene early Saturday morning.

“That happens because there is a small spot somewhere that’s still hot or we overlooked or it gets enough ventilation where it picks up again,” Degen said. “We did a really nice job, we thought, of getting all of the hotspots out.”

The two fires caused extensive roof damage and destroyed most of what was located in the front of the building.

“The back half of the building looks bad. We did save the north side of the building. The production area looks pretty good. It had some smoke damage,” Degen said. “What seemed to be burnt most was the office area, the break room and some of the storage areas in the front there.

The company has been a landmark in the community for decades. It has other locations besides the factory in Montague. Residents hope it will continue to hold its legacy.

“White Hall products has been around for as long as I can remember. They’ve donated stuff to the fire department. They are a pillar in the community as far as a stable manufacturing company,” Degen said.

News 8 reached out to the company for a response and they declined to comment. No one was inside the building when the fire started and there were no reported injuries among first responders.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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