Fire rips through Morton Salt plant in Manistee

Crews are battling a fire at the Morton Salt plant in Manistee.

A portion of the Morton Salt plant in Manistee was heavily damaged today after a fire broke out while employees were performing a construction project.

Crews first received calls around 10:15 for a two-story fire on 6th Street.

The chief tells 7 & 4 News that flames were ignited by sparks from a welding torch that hit shrink wrapped cardboard boxes below, as workers were removing a catwalk.

"Sparks got on the shrink wrap, and got on the card board, started burning out and got back up in the cat walk and started burning," said David Bachman, director of Manistee Public Safety.

The chief says the storage building was full of the cardboard boxes so firefighters were dealing with a lot of toxic smoke.

"The hardest part for us is we can't see inside very well because it generates smoke," said Bachman. "We've got it ventilated pretty good. All that smoke is toxic. All that plastic burning is toxic so everybody's on air going inside."

It took 5 crews from around the area and more than 10,000 gallons of water to battle the blaze. No one was hurt and the plant remains in operation.