FLINT (WJRT) (12/1/2017) - Firefighters from several departments were battling a large blaze in downtown Flint that destroyed a painting business.
The Flint Fire Department responded to the scene in the 1000 block of Saginaw Street between East 5th Avenue and Williams Street shortly before midnight Saturday morning.
Battalion Chief Ramsey Clapper said flames were already shooting through the roof when the first crews arrived. Flint firefighters immediately called for mutual aid from surrounding fire departments to provide aerial trucks to attack the fire from above.
Nearly every Flint Fire Department unit also responded to the scene.
The fire consumed much of the Bennings Painting and Industrial Flooring complex, which has been at that location for 23 years.
The battalion chief said the two adjoining structures caught fire and received heavy damage. An office area located in the front of the building appeared to receive less damage than the large warehouse in back.
Heavy smoke and flames were shooting from the buildings, easily visible from the I-69 and I-475 interchange. Firefighters reported the roof was collapsing around 1 a.m. as heavy fire conditions persisted.
Most of the flames were extinguished by 1:30 a.m., but fire crews planned remain on the scene for most of the night putting out hot spots and cleaning up.
The cause of the fire has not determined. The Michigan State Police Fire Marshall will be investigating.
An apartment building just south of the scene was evacuated for a few hours while firefighters worked to knock down most of the blaze.
Owner Wes Benning said in addition to his building being a total loss, he lost 12 trucks in the fire.
The business, which is insured, employs more than 20 and is well known in the area. Benning just completed work on the new Capitol Building in downtown Flint. He tells us he and his wife started the business together in Flint.
The website for Bennings Painting and Industrial Flooring says the business was founded in 1980 as a one-man operation and grew steadily over the years. The company provides painting services for industrial and commercial applications, along with heavy duty industrial floor coatings.
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