— Flint Township Fire Department responded to a fire at the White House office building, 3255 Beecher Rd. near Ballenger Hwy., the morning of Nov. 5. Fire Chief John Ringwelski gave a report of the incident to the Flint Township Board of Trustees at its Nov. 8 meeting.
Ringwelski said smoke was reported from the building at 5:09 a.m. Nov. 5, resulting in “a very large incident.” Ringwelski said the size of the fire resulted in the department utilizing its incident command system. The department also had extra fuel brought in for an excavator, which was used to remove part of the building.
“We called in mutual aid and activated the county coordinator,” he said. To help Flint Township battle the blaze, Swartz Creek Area Fire Department and the Grand Blanc Fire Department both brought in aerials. “The City of Flint did not attend due to an incident of their own,” Ringwelski said. Fire departments from Gaines and Davison also responded to the call, and Ringwelski said the Davison Fire Department responded to a kitchen fire off Corunna Rd. for the township. In total, eight departments were on the scene with 40-50 people in total.
“There were no injuries,” he said. “It was an incredible effort by our guys. Our greatest enemy was the wind. At times, it was impossible to see the ground.”
While reporting on the incident, Ringwelski showed pictures of the fire, starting approximately 15-20 minutes after it began and up until the fire was extinguished. Despite contrary reports, Ringwelski said the department did apply water in a timely manner but was “chased out by a flash-over in the attic area.”
The White House building was approximately 35,000-square feet and Ringwelski said 20,000-square feet was involved in the fire. The building consisted of more than 20 units, and each unit was the size of a small apartment.
“Five tenants were in there, and most were able to recover some inventory,” Ringwelski said.
Officials from investigative agencies will be out later this week to determine the cause of the fire.