Homes evacuated while crews battle chemical plant fire in Bay County
PORTSMOUTH TWP., Mich. (WJRT) - Multiple homes were evacuated early Friday morning off of M-13 in Bay County, due to a large fire at Renosol Corporation, a chemical facility that molds polyurethane. Thankfully, fire crews said the smoke wasn’t toxic.
“Scary, traumatizing actually,” said Matthew Machulis, who lives in Riverview Estates next door.
Machulis said he woke up early Friday morning to his neighbor’s banging on his door telling him to get out now.
“The flames engulfed and the black smoke, the wire smell and the wood smell and other chemicals,” said Machulis.
Just behind the tree line, flames engulfed the Renosol building, a company that molds polyurethane; which, when burned, can release an awful smell and produce potentially toxic smoke.
That’s why, when Portsmouth Township firefighters arrived, they went into defensive attack.
Fire Captain Steve Easterhai said, “When we arrived, the first building was fully engulfed, we laid into the defensive attack and called for mutual aid from multiple departments.”
Marvin Taylor, who also lives in Riverview Estates said the flames sounded like fireworks as they filled the air with black smoke.
“The police were riding around in the area and they had like a detector out of the window and I think that may have been the gas detector to see if there were chemicals leaking,” said Taylor.
No toxic chemicals were detected and the flames were put out.
Seven hours later, Machulis was finally able to come home.
“At least it’s still here through,” said Machulis.
Crews are tearing the building down and putting out any hotspots.
M-13 is back open to traffic.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
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