MENOMINEE, Mich. (WLUC) – For two weeks, fire crews have fought a warehouse fire at Resolute Forest Products in Menominee. Menominee Fire Chief Mark Petersen said the fire should be out by Saturday.
“This warehouse is a building that encompasses about seven acres. This warehouse was filled with bales, scrap paper and pulp that was piled over 10 feet high,” Petersen explained.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Cynthia Kuber, the President of KK Integrated Logistics (KKIL), who owns the property, said most of it is a total loss.
“The building in the beginning as it stood was 560,000 square feet,” Kuber said. “We have lost 420,000 square feet of that to complete destruction. 140,000 square feet still stands and has been deemed structurally sound, but it will need to be restored.”
Environmental agencies from Michigan and Wisconsin have been testing water supplies for PFAS chemicals for several years. They both report a spike in the chemical PFHxA in the water supply, but it remained well below the maximum concentration.
“With that said, we currently have no recommended actions. What this means for residents of Menominee, is they can use their water as they had before the fire existed,” said Dr. Marcus Wasilevich, MDHHS Toxicology Section manager.
Both Michigan and Wisconsin health and environmental agencies said those levels have returned to nearly zero. Concentration levels were higher in Marinette, Wisconsin, but remained below safety limits.
Large containment areas were established to control firewater. Petersen estimates more than eight million gallons of water will be used to extinguish it. 68 departments from across Michigan and Wisconsin responded. Kuber said the plan is to rebuild.
“We will rise from the ashes,” Kuber explained. “KKIL, our business partners and our family are committed to our community. We plan to rebuild on the site. The involved businesses and partnerships will move forward. The jobs will return, and we will build a state-of-the-art, modern warehouse in support of our industrial partners.”
Kuber is hopeful unaffected areas of the Resolute Forest Products pulp mill can restart later this month. No timetable has been set for when a new facility will be completed. Daily updates have been posted here.
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