Fire Scene

A scene from the site of the Dec. 21 fire at the Lakeshore Recycling and Disposal property between New Buffalo and Three Oaks. - photo provided

THREE OAKS — A fire inside a pole building at Lakeshore Recycling and Disposal’s 8740 U. S. 12 property on Saturday, Dec. 21, destroyed a 60- by 25-foot shop building and its contents including a garbage truck and a forklift.

Three Oaks Fire Chief David G. Flick said the call came in at 1:43 p.m. Dec. 21, adding that the New Buffalo Township department also was called to the scene (about midway between Three Oaks and New Buffalo) “right away because we could see the smoke.”

“Upon arrival the building was almost totally up in flames,” he said.

Flick said firefighters were aware that the pole building used for the maintenance and repair of trucks contained hazardous items such as acetylene and oxygen welding tanks and several 100-pound propane tanks as well as a large diesel tank outside the structure. He added that the northwest corner which was initially on fire contained parts storage below and offices above.

Flick said a neighbor heard several of the acetylene tanks explode and “his whole house shook.”

Once firefighters were on the scene, he said the tires on the one garbage truck inside the building blew up. Flick said that vehicle plus a forklift, everything else inside and the building were all total losses.

“Roughly the building’s around $200,000, contents were around $150,000. That does not include the truck itself,” Flick said.

Since there are no nearby hydrants, Flick said the Chikaming and Galien fire departments assisted with tankers to bring water to the scene.

No one was injured during a fire fight that lasted about six hours, and a stretch of U.S. 12 near the scene was closed for part of the afternoon.

“We had the fire under control within about three or four hours,” Flick said, adding that debris then had to be removed so firefighters could get to some buried hot spots.

He said garbage also had to be removed from the truck.

It took a couple of additional hours back at the station to clean up the 1,500 feet of hose used to extinguish the fire.

Flick said the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Lakeshore serves Three Oaks, New Buffalo and portions of La Porte County.

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