Battle Creek Investigators are looking into another suspicious fire today, after someone may have set a fire at the old United Steel & Wire factory at 27 Fonda Avenue.

Battle Creek Fire Chief Brian Sturdivant says it looks like the fire may have started in an elevator.  The Battle Creek Fire Department got the call shortly after 9 pm on Thursday night after black smoke was spotted coming from the abandoned factory building.   Crews arrived four minutes later to find flames showing from the roof of an elevator shaft.

Firemen proceeded carefully due to the condition of the building but put out the fire in 40 minutes' time with no injuries reported.  The fire is suspicious with no cause determined. The Battle Creek Police Department is investigating a report that children were seen running from the structure at the time of the alarm.  The gate at the entrance on Fonda Avenue is in disrepair, and anyone could easily get into the property at any time.

27 Fonda-US Steel and Wire-TSM Photo
27 Fonda-US Steel and Wire-TSM Photo

United Steel and Wire operated for nearly a century in Battle Creek, until 2007.  The company manufactured and sold plastic and metal shopping carts, displays, bins, and shelving for grocery and retail stores across the United States.  They also mad seat belts, numbered signs, vertical corner bumpers, wheels, footstools, beds, chests, tables, lockers, and ironing boards.   The site went through tax foreclosure in early 2018, and the EPA began a cleanup of hazardous materials later that year.

If anyone has information on this fire, please call the fire department headquarters at 269-966-3519.

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