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Fire at recycling facility could 'burn for another week or two'

WHITE PIGEON, Mich. -- As of early Tuesday morning, crews have contained the fire at Green Stream Company to about 15 acres, according to the White Pigeon Fire Chief. It could take more than a week to completely burn out.

The fire started around 1:30 Monday afternoon and quickly spread throughout the property. As of Tuesday morning, the fire was  contained.

"Currently we’ve got a perimeter established around the pile of burning wood, about a 60 foot fire break. We’re working to set up irrigation system sprinklers that the DNR has brought in. We’re going to set that system up on the unburned portion of the fire to allow the burned section to continue to burn itself out," said Assistant Fire Chief Tyler Royce. "I anticipate it’s going to burn for another week or two."

The flames are being fueled by several piles of scrap wood pallets, according to fire crews. Some more than 20 feet high.

Although the facility has recycled cardboard, plastic and Styrofoam, only the wood products are on fire, Royce said.

Royce says there should be no health concerns with the pallets that are on fire.

"A lot of this lumber that’s built in these pallets is not a treated lumber is more of a native species, I don’t think there’s any concerns with health," Royce said.

The number of crews on scene was reduced as of 3:30 a.m. Tuesday. One engine is pumping water to keep the fire contained, but more crews are expected to return at daybreak. 

There is no water source, or fire hydrant, at the scene, according to the chief. Crews have been bringing in water from a nearby retention pond, the nearby St. Joe River, and from the municipal water systems in White Pigeon and Bristol.

Crews say, as of right now, they have stopped flyovers.

One firefighter from the Constantine Fire Department was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation, but is expected to be okay.

At least one building has been destroyed on the property, along with some equipment.

Fighting the fire has been the first priority, so firefighters have not had time to investigate the cause.

"We really don’t have a very good idea of how it started. We haven’t been able to speak directly to the employees or dig into the investigation to much yet as we’re still trying to keep the fire contained and under control," Royce said.

M103 is closed between State Line Rd and US-12 because of the fire.

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