Just before 3:40 p.m., on Monday, Dec. 27, the Mason, Michigan Fire Deparment was dispatched for a structure fire at Launstein Lumber, 384 S. Every Rd in rural Vevay Township.
While responding to the scene, command requested mutual aid from the Dansville Fire Department for a tanker and manpower.
Fire Chief Kerry Minshall confirmed a working fire with a large one-story pole barn type structure heavily charged with light colored smoke and some flames showing from the eave line above a sliding garage door on the "A" side.
Additional mutual aid was requested from the Leslie & Delhi Township fire departments for tankers & manpower.
Lines were quickly charged as access was gained into the sliding door. From the inside, it was discovered that a ceiling was in place which was going to make getting to the fire difficult.
For safety reasons, command advised no one would be entering the structure. Firefighters began trying to find a way to get to the flames from the outside.
Approximately 10 minutes after firefighters arrived, the truss roof failed and the structure collapsed without warning in the area firefighters would have been working in had they gone inside.
Within minutes, the entire length of the pole barn became totally involved in fire.
Command requested activation of the Ingham County Tanker Task Force which brings tankers from each department that cover rural portions of the county.
Tower 808 was set up and several additional handlines were put in play.
Gas and electric utilities on the "D" side of the structure became involved which created additional hazards for firefighters.
Assistance was requested from Consumers Energy, and personnel were on the scene quickly to disconnect the power to downed wires.
In only 30 minutes, the fire ate its way completely through the structure, leaving a roofless shell of the building the company used for millwork, planing and cutting of custom hardwood flooring.
Firefighters now faced the extensive job of overhauling and extinguishing remaining pockets of fire as well as checking for extension in a sawdust shed attached by ductwork to the "B" side of the building.
Yard personnel used a front end loader to bring down the remaining walls.
Firefighters were on the scene for almost five hours. They returned later in the evening to check for hot spots.