Local News

Fire at U.S. Farathane in Port Huron fought by seven fire departments

By Jim Bloch

“Urgent. Avoid the area.”

That was the message sent by Port Huron Police Department early Sunday afternoon, July 7.

The U.S. Farathane warehouse in the city’s industrial park caught fire and sent a giant plume of black smoke into the clear blue skies.

“The Port Huron Fire Department and assisting agencies continue fire extinguishment efforts in the area of 24th St and Beard at USF,” the fire department announced on its Facebook page at 11:15 a.m. Monday. “Residents may notice changing smoke conditions throughout the day as portions of burning plastic material are uncovered by excavating equipment. U.S. EPA resources are on scene and are actively monitoring air quality in surrounding neighborhoods.”

Seven fire departments responded to the blaze: Port Huron, Port Huron Township, Sarnia, Kimball, Marysville, Fort Gratiot and St. Clair. Sarnia firefighters manned station #1to respond to unrelated calls.

“We expect to be on scene for another 24 to 36 hours,” said Port Huron Fire Department Chief Corey Nicholson in the post.

The fire was the worst Nicholson had seen since the 2018 fire at the Chicory building on 12th Avenue.”

Five aerial trucks, three engines and two-and-a-half dozen firefighters battled the blaze.

Tri-Hospital EMS was also on the scene.

“Three firefighters were hospitalized Sunday due to heat exhaustion and cardiac health concerns,” the department said.

Port Huron Department of Public Works and St. Clair County Homeland Security and Emergency Management also pitched in.

“We are asking everyone to avoid the area around US Farathane (22nd and Beard) due to the large, very much still active commercial structure fire,” said the police department on its Facebook page on Sunday afternoon. “We are seeing individuals walking dangerously close to the scene to take pictures and get a closer look. This is NOT safe and forces first responders to focus their attention on these Individuals instead of the incident itself.”

The fire department said the cause of the blaze was still under investigation.

Five years ago, a U.S. Farathane storage facility caught fire in a massive blaze in Auburn Hills near 1-75 and University Drive.

The company, which manufactures plastic components for the auto industry, employs nearly 6,000 people at 20 locations worldwide.

Jim Bloch is a freelance writer based in St. Clair, Michigan. Contact him at bloch.jim@gmail.com. 

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