Fire Causes $1M in Damages at Excavation Company

July 1, 2024
Investigators searching for cause of massive Bay County trucking company fire.

By: Cole Waterman
Source: mlive.com (TNS)

HAMPTON TWP, MI — Investigators are working to determine what sparked a massive blaze at a Hampton Township trucking company, likely causing more than $1 million in damage.

Hampton Township Public Safety Director Bryan Benchley said fire investigators from Bay County, the state, and the ATF are to be on scene of MacFarlane Trucking & Excavating, sifting through the charred rubble in hopes of determining the fire’s origin.

About 8 p.m. on June 27, ambulance personnel saw flames emanating from

The conflagration at the 930 N. Wagner Road began the evening of June 27. About 8 p.m., ambulance personnel saw flames emanating from the site, prompting firefighters to respond. They arrived to find the southernmost bay area engulfed in flames, which soon spread to the building’s north side, Benchley said.

The building housed tires, oil, vehicles, lawnmowers, and other items. Benchley estimated there were about 100 new tractor-trailer tires inside, adding to the conflagration.

Tire fires are second only to electric car fires in terms of the difficulty affording in battling them, Benchley said.

Crews took a defensive stance as numerous other departments from Bay and Tuscola counties responded to help. In all, firefighters from Bay City, Essexville, Merritt, Portsmouth, Monitor, Unionville, Caro, Gagetown, Akron, Reese, and Fairgrove lent a hand.

Large plumes of black smoke were visible for hours in the Bay County skies.

Due to environmental concerns, personnel from Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and the Regional Response Hazmat Team also responded.

Crews cleared the scene around 3 or 4 a.m. but returned about 7:30 a.m. to put out some hot spots.

The business was closed at the time and no employees were present when the fire began, Benchley said. No injuries were suffered, either to firefighters or civilians.

The blaze left the site a total loss, with Benchley estimating more than $1 million in damages. The business was insured.

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