Otsego fire and power outage not linked yet
Though the power cut out to all of Otsego and Plainwell at almost the same time as a fire was reported at a set of self-storage units in Otsego, officials do not yet know if they are related.
The blaze began in the west building of a set of two at Total Storage Solutions, 711 E Allegan St.
Otsego Fire Chief Brandon Weber said he noticed fire and smoke at 11:15 p.m. Thursday, March 19, while investigating a call of smoke at Brookside Park in his role as a police officer for Otsego.
He immediately called for full response from Otsego, Plainwell and Gun Plain Township fire departments. Martin’s was also called to assist somewhat later.
“There was already smoke and fire when they responded about 7 minutes later,” Weber said. “It took several hours to get that out, but we were able to prevent it from spreading to the other building as well as the nearby office building (closer to M-89).”
The business’ two buildings were approximately 160 feet long by 20 feet wide, according to Weber. The heaviest damage was at the northern end of the western building, but all of its 27 units suffered some amount of smoke or water damage.
No civilians were hurt or killed in the fire. Weber said one firefighter suffered a knee injury but eventually was able to return to the scene. Another suffered from overheating and smoke inhalation but was able to remain on scene.
He said a witness reported seeing an individual running from the scene but so far the cause of the fire is still unknown. The state fire marshal was on scene Friday to investigate; that inquiry is ongoing.
There were no indications that any nearby electrical lines or poles were damaged by the fire.
“We had assumed the power outage was related to the fire but there were no transformers that blew and no poles that went down,” Weber said.
Consumers Energy said the outage affected 5,833 customers.
Spokesman Roger Morgenstern said the 46,000-volt line was affected by an equipment failure unrelated to the fire.
“I don’t think it was the result of the fire,” he said. “It was a failed insulator on our high voltage system and not related to the distribution—lower voltage—system which would have been closer to the vicinity of the fire. Just a coincidence of timing.”
He said the outage lasted from 11:22 p.m. Thursday to 1:23 a.m. Friday.
The outage affected homes and businesses well outside city limits.
Contact Ryan Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org or (269) 673-5534.