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Flames destroy recycling company looking to expand

Black smoke could be seen bellowing from the building until late Tuesday night as crews poured water on the fire.

MANISTEE COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) — A Manistee County building is in ruins after intense flames and smoke broke-out Tuesday afternoon.

It happened at the Bay Area Recycling for Charities in Maple Grove Township near Kaleva shortly before 4 PM. Fire Crews from more than half a dozen jurisdictions responded.

Black smoke could be seen billowing from the building until late Tuesday night as crews poured water on the fire.

The Bay Area Recycling for Charities is a non-profit, also known as BARC. The company recycles mattresses and appliances like refrigerators to help the environment.

A percentage of what people pay for those recycling services goes to local charities in the area.

The equipment manager with the company was in the facility at the time the building went up in flames. She was one of the four people in the building, but everyone made it out safely.

“One of the guys came in and said, ‘fire, call 9-1-1,’” said Jessica Llions, plant manager. “It’s devastating because this has become my life and BARC has become everything to me and we’ve worked so hard on so many different things.”

The founder of the Bay Area Recycling for Charities says they were renting the building and planned to close on a loan to purchase it next week, a deal that he says would have brought 50 to 100 more jobs to the Kaleva area.

“We haven’t lost hope for it I know the building is probably going to need to be demolished and start over,” said founder, Andy Gale. “We have to move on we have a mission here and we haven’t lost hope in our mission.”

Right now, the cause of the fire has not been determined.

Fire crews with Manistee County, the City of Manistee, Maple Grove Township, Cleon Township and Bear Lake responded to the call.

If you would like to donate to help Bay Area Recycling for Charities, click here.


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