Fire fails to take hold in historic structure

Papermill long considered a dangerous fire to fight

by BETH ALTENA

Plainfield Fire Chief Dave Peterson said his officers found a small fire in the Childsdale Papermill structure on Tuesday, April 10 but were successful in stopping the blaze from taking hold in the 100-year-old mill. A dozen first responder vehicles, including five pumper trucks from Plainfield, firefighter vehicles, Michigan State Police and the Kent County Sheriff’s Department quickly responded after a passerby called the township with report of smoke visible from the buildings just after 3 p.m.

“They found a small fire in the downstairs and are putting it out with water,” Peterson stated.

Firefighters have long considered the building a dangerous one in which to fight fire, considering its age, condition and size.

BridgeWay Community Church has been in the process of raising money to purchase and renovate the mill. Brian Pankratz, lead elder for BridgeWay, said firefighters were unable to pinpoint the source of the fire. “They are not one hundred percent sure what happened,” he stated. “We are very grateful. The firefighters did a great job putting out what was there.”

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