Fire Chief: Chimney fire sparked American Classic Roofing inferno

Posted at 5:17 PM, Feb 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-06 17:17:22-05

MONTCALM TOWNSHIP, Mich. —  We now know what caused the massive fire January 12 at American Classic Roofing & Building Supply near Greenville.

Montcalm Township Fire Chief Cliff Dickinson tells FOX 17 burning scrap lumber sparked a chimney fire in an adjacent house, and it then spread quickly late that afternoon. No one was injured in the fire, which destroyed the house and the 25,000-square-foot building at 8091 Peck Road. 

Crews from eight fire departments in Montcalm and Kent counties responded, but the hot spots from the fire were not completely doused for three days. Dickinson says the damage was estimated to be between $3 million and $4 million.

“A couple of people were burning scrap pieces of lumber, tearing the tongue-and-groove off the log home and putting them in the fireplace,” says Chief Dickinson. “One of the chimneys had rust in it, and one of the burning pieces of lumber got into the wall, and that started the fire.”

Although the building was a total loss, American Classic Roofing owner Nathan Thomas told FOX 17 last month the company plans to continue doing business in the Greenville area. All of the business’s delivery trucks were spared from the fire. “We want to stay here and work in this community. It’s a great place to be.”

 The family-owned business began in Bailey, in Muskegon County, in 2001. Thomas says employees are working there until the business can reopen in Montcalm County. The second location was opened in Montcalm Township in 2014.

Dickinson says Michigan State Police, the township fire department and insurance investigators were involved in the post-fire investigation.