LAPEER, MI — A large-scale fire in downtown Lapeer over the weekend took more than 100 firefighters using 3 million gallons of water to contain.
Lapeer Fire Chief Terry Kluge said the commercial and residential fire that began at 141 W. Nepessing St. was first reported at 4:55 a.m. on Saturday, June 5.
Lapeer and Elba Township firefighters were the first to respond to the scene of reported smoke emanating from the rear of the building.
Lapeer Division Chief Tom Wittke, the incident commander, directed initial crews and Lapeer police officers to evacuate nearby apartments of residents.
Thereafter, five additional alarms were sounded and the following nine fire agencies also responded: Metamora Township, Davison-Richfield, Oxford, Imlay City, Deerfield Township, Attica Township, Arcadia Township, Marlette, and Grand Blanc Township.
Crews used several hose lines and aerial streams to control the fire.
“Unfortunately, the fire spread to two adjacent buildings before being contained,” Kluge said in a press release. “Three additional buildings suffered minor to significant water and smoke damage. As the incident progressed, crews were unable to continue attempts to enter the involved buildings due to roof/floor collapse and other unsafe conditions.”
As a result of this, the damage’s extent, and the instability of two buildings’ walls, an excavator was used to remove the north and south walls of the buildings. This allowed crews to complete their extinguishment of the blaze, Kluge said.
Michigan State Police troopers also responded and helped establish a control zone around the affected area. Lapeer County EMS, Medstar Ambulance Service, and the Lapeer Department of Public Works also assisted.
In all, eight ladder trucks, five engines, and 111 firefighters across 11 departments were used to combat the conflagration. Eight fire hydrants were used to provide 3 million gallons of water.
Grand Blanc Township was the first department to clear the scene at 2:20 p.m. Saturday. The other assisting departments left the scene by 5 p.m., with one truck from Lapeer staying on-site until 6 a.m. Sunday, June 6.
Kluge said there were no civilian injuries suffered in the ordeal. One firefighter was treated for minor smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion, but returned to the scene, he added.
Among the businesses that were affected by the fire include Lapeer County Vision Center, 129 W. Nepessing St.; RAZ clothing store, 141 W. Nepessing St; and Grondin Hair Center, 155 W. Nepessing St.
Kluge did not know exactly how many residents were displaced, though Lapeer Mayor Deborah G. Marquardt previously said there were about 15 who were being assisted by the American Red Cross.
The cause of the fire remains unknown.
Kluge said the Lapeer Police Department, Michigan State Police Fire Investigation Unit, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives are assisting in the investigation into the blaze’s origins.