FFD handles pair of dumpster fires, lawn mower blaze
Dumpster fires, a U.S. Mail truck blaze and a lawn mower fire were part of a busy week for the Frankenmuth Fire Department last week.
Overall, firefighters had eight calls for service, with multiple back-to-back alarms, to raise the number of fire calls to 73 for the year 2021.
Tuesday evening, June 1 around 6:30pm, the FFD responded to the 5000 block of Frank Road for a lawn mower fire.
After finishing mowing the grass, the operator was preparing to park the tractor inside a building when he noticed the top of the mower deck was on fire and called Saginaw County Central Dispatch 911. FFD Captain Dan Schneirla stated the property owner mostly extinguished the fire, however, Engine 1 and Brush 7 responded and finished wetting down the mower deck and an adjacent tree that caught fire. There were no injuries.
A total of 19 fire personnel reported to the station and cleared 25 minutes later.
Alarms 67, 68 and 69 occurred around 1:45pm on Wednesday, June 2. The initial call was reported at Covenant Glen, 1040 Covenant Drive, and three minutes thereafter, a second call was received for a U.S. Mail truck accident on Townline Road, just east of M-83 and in front of the Hart One-Room Schoolhouse on Grandpa Tiny’s Farm.
FFD Chief Phillip Kerns said Safety Officer Jamison Zehnder and Engine 1 responded to the Covenant Glen alarm and Lt. Adam Weiss, Engine 2 and Truck 5 traveled to the crash and blaze.
“The fire alarm was the result of dust from some ongoing interior restoration work at the facility and the mail truck apparently left the road and struck a tree,” Kerns said.
The female mail truck driver suffered minor leg injuries. The truck was from the Birch Run office and postal officials were handling the matter with the damaged contents. She had 24 more route stops to make when the incident took place. The truck was totally consumed by fire and the inferno also damaged a tree near the white picket fence around the farm.
While Engine 1 and personnel quickly cleared Covenant Glen, Engine 2 and Truck 5 cleared 40 minutes later. While getting the equipment back in service, run No. 69 brought back the FFD to Townline Road, as the mail truck began leaking fuel as the Clio-area tow truck was loading the incinerated truck onto a flatbed.
“We assisted the tow truck operator with containing the small quantity of fluids,” Kerns noted.
Seventeen firefighters reported for the three calls and were able to clear all of the incidents after 90 minutes from the time of the first activation.
Shortly after 10am Saturday, June 5, the department again had consecutive calls. The initial response was called in by an area resident regarding a wire down at the corner of Hubinger and East School streets.
“While responding and waiting at the intersection of Genesee and Main streets for the traffic signal, Crew Leader Eric MacKinnon in Engine 1 and Lt. Jeff Kribs in Brush 7 advised that they both smelled something burning as the trucks followed each other to the wires-down call,” Kerns said. “Upon conferring on the radio, Kribs in Brush 7 investigated the area properties and spotted one of the dumpsters at Gill-Roy’s Hardware, 100 block of South Main Street, was on fire, next to a storage building.”
At that point, Kribs and Firefighter Dan Wortman requested Engine 2 be dispatched to their location and kept the dumpster fire in the container. Brush 7 has limited equipment and the two firemen did not want the adjacent pole building to catch fire.
Engine 2 traveled to the scene, the fire was extinguished and the building checked for possible heat and fire damage. Currently, the cause of the fire is under investigation and damage was kept to a minimum. Fifteen fire personnel responded and cleared shortly after 11am.
Early Sunday morning, June 6, at 6:19am, a fire alarm at Wellspring Lutheran Services, 725 West Genesee Street, awoke firefighters.
FFD Assistant Chief Philip Haubenstricker said a faulty alarm panel activated the alarm and the 11 firefighters who reported cleared shortly thereafter.
Later on Sunday, shortly after 2:34pm, Frankenmuth was summoned for a dumpster fire at Frankenmuth Jellystone Park, 1339 Weiss Street.
Zehnder advised that still hot charcoal ashes may have caused the dumpster contents to begin burning. Jellystone staff was able to water the container and FFD’s Engine 1 and Engine 2 responded and completed extinguishment. A total of 17 fire personnel traveled to the fire hall and cleared after an hour.
“We caution bystanders to be extremely careful in attempting to extinguish fires. Like the Jellystone employees, call 911 and let us perform the dangerous work of extinguishing a fire as today’s smoke is toxic and the risk of suffering from burns isn’t worth any amount of property damage as a result of a fire,” Kerns stated.
In other FFD news, Kerns is again issuing a suspension of burning permits for open burning outside of approve containers or small camp fires contained within pits until further notice.
Last Thursday evening, Engine 1 stood by at List Elementary School for the Frankenmuth High School Class of 2021 Commencement and the fireworks display. They also assisted for List School’s Field Day.
On Tuesday, June 8, FFD personnel were invited to the Frankenmuth American Legion Post #150 to celebrate FFD firefighter and U.S. Army veteran Wayne Nuechterlein’s recent award from the Michigan Department of American Legion as Firefighter of the Year. Nuechterlein, with over 40 years of service to the FFD, will travel with his wife Barb to Sault Ste. Marie later this month and he has been nominated for a national award. Following the event, firefighters will meet to conduct pre-plan reviews at the Wellsprings housing development on Flora Lane and Court and the recently-completed Cass River Walkway.