MONTCALM TOWNSHIP — The owners of Nelson’s Speed Shop have experienced another devastating fire that destroyed their business.
At about 1:30 a.m. today, Montcalm Township Fire Department was dispatched to Nelson’s Speed Shop on M-91 in Montcalm Township for a structure fire.
“When I got here it was 40 percent involved,” said Montcalm Township Fire Department Lt. Ryan Hyde.
The fire started in the back of the business, on the west side of the building, where the warehouse is located, Hyde said.
The steel building was a challenge for firefighters to get water into the complex.
“Trying to get water on the fire was the biggest problem,” Hyde said.
No one from the business was injured. The business was insured.
Hyde said firefighters had not yet determined the cause of the fire.
The owners of Nelson’s Speed Shop were on the scene of the fire, but they declined to comment at this time. Their business has served the Greenville area for more than 40 years by selling snowmobiles, outdoor power equipment, ATVs, lawnmowers and more.
Water had to be transported to the scene from the city of Greenville by tankers from multiple fire departments.
Hyde said a majority of the tankers were pumping 1,500 gallons of water per minute through each monitor and 1,250 gallons per minute from the truck working on the back section of the building.
Officers closed M-91 at Sidney Road north of the fire scene and at Peck Road, south of the scene. M-91 reopened just before 6:30 a.m.
Hyde said the building is a complete loss, but firefighters were working hard to salvage what was left of the outside. As of 5 a.m. today, the fire was 90 percent contained.
2001 fire was arson
This is not the first devastating fire for the business and business owners.
Before the current building was constructed, a smaller Nelson’s Speed Shop building was in its place.
On Sept. 17, 2001, at about 1:40 a.m. that building was set on fire.
Richard Crew and Stewart David Barron were both indicted on one count of arson and one count of conspiracy to commit arson by a federal grand jury in Grand Rapids.
Crew was sentenced to 84 months in prison while Barron was sentenced to 63 months in prison. Each man also was ordered to pay about $4 million in restitution.
Thomas Klein, owner of Tom’s Cycle in St. Johns, received five months in federal prison, two years of supervised release and five months of home confinement for misprision (knowledge/failure to report) of a federal arson. He was ordered to pay $500,000 in restitution.
Nelson’s Speed Shop was rebuilt just shy of a year after the 2001 fire.
“(Arson) is possible, but it’s still too early to tell,” Hyde said of this morning’s fire.
11 departments respond to fire
Hyde said the 11 departments that responded to the fire were the Greenville Department of Public Safety, Belding, Day Township, Courtland Township, Lakeview District, Maple Valley Township, Montcalm Township, Oakfield Township, Stanton Community and Sheridan Community and Spencer Township fire departments.
Also on scene was the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office and Advance Life Support.
According to Diana Ply, a crew member of McDonalds on M-57 in Greenville, the fast-food chain donated 25 cheeseburgers and 25 small orders of fries to the firefighters at the scene.