Shop area appears to be fire’s origin

November 6, 2014

david allen fire  3

By Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

GREENWOOD TWP. — The cause of the fire that destroyed the David Allen Racing Motorsports facility, formerly Powers Motor Sports, at 11995 N. Maple Island Rd., Wednesday evening, Nov. 5, has not yet been determined, but officials are saying it likely started in the shop area.

“The shop area seems to be the origin,” said Hesperia Fire Chief Dwayne Tinkham this afternoon. Michigan State Police Fire david allen fire 2Marshall Trevor Slater was at the scene most of the day today, conducting an investigation, Tinkham said. Related story here

“It’s hard to pinpoint,” Tinkham said, “because everything was so badly burned.” The facility included “three connected buildings,” he said.

Officials initially reported last night that three-quarters of the facility was destroyed, but Tinkham said today that it is a “total loss.” Some inventory was able to be removed from the warehouse, he said. Local residents, including men from the nearby Amish community, stepped in and bravely carried out ATVs and snowmobiles, saving valuable inventory. Some of the heroic Amish men were from Troyer and Sons, a nearby business.

The Oceana County business is a “franchised motorsports dealership,” its website states. It is located at the Newaygo/Muskegon/Oceana county line near Fremont.

No one was on the premises at the time of the fire, and no one was injured, Tinkham said.

powers_motor_sports_fire_110514_aA total of 14 fire departments from three counties battled the blaze for several hours until the scene was finally cleared at 3:08 a.m. A security company employee called 911 at 7:45 p.m. after a fire alarm went off at the facility, Tinkham said. Smoke was seen coming from the north end of the building, Fremont Fire Chief Brian Hettinger said, and the fire quickly began to spread to the other end of the building.

Firefighters from White Cloud, Ferry, Hesperia, Holton, Walkerville, Shelby, Fremont, Newaygo, Blue Lake, Muskegon Township, Dalton, Egelston Township, Grant Township and Montague responded to the scene, Tinkham said. Officials last night said there were 12 departments on scene, but Tinkham said today there were 14 total, including Grant and Montague. Pro Med Ambulance was also called to the scene for standby.

After the flames were under control, a natural gas line caught fire, keeping crews on scene for several hours.

No firefighters were injured while fighting the blaze, Tinkham said. “We had to pull people (firefighters) out for safety reasons, because the roof was collapsing,” he said.

david allen fire 1Many onlookers gathered  across the road and watched the enormous fire.

An approximate one-mile section of Maple Island Road was closed for several hours in the vicinity of the fire. It re-opened around 12:30 a.m., Tinkham said.

“On Wednesday night, we had a fire that burned down our main facility,” DAR’s website states.  “We are still running and will not be leaving. You might experience a slight shipping delay for the next few days, but due to the help of our neighbors and surrounding community, the warehouse was saved and we should be up and running on Monday. We appreciate your help and support during these times. DAR Management Team.”

According to other media reports, the business was planning to temporarily operate out of a nearby storage facility as early as Friday, Nov. 7. A message left at DAR’s Silver Lake facility was not returned today.

Tinkham, who said the business is fully insured, did not have a monetary damage amount caused by the fire. It has been reported that damages total $3 million.

Tinkham said last night’s blaze was the second largest fire he has fought in his 17-year career. The fire at Heritage Farms Market seven years ago was the largest one he has fought. The 2007 blaze at Heritage Farms Market, which is located just a few miles down the road from DAR, destroyed more than $1 million in property.

The Hesperia chief said he was happy with how well the assisting departments responded last night. “The firefighter operations went very well,” he said. “I was very pleased with the response from everybody.”

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