BUSHNELL TOWNSHIP — When William Fleisher pulled into his driveway in his white pickup truck, he couldn’t believe his eyes.
Firefighters from the Sheridan Community and Ronald Township fire departments were putting out remaining hot spots of Fleisher’s pole barn at 4290 E. Bricker road this morning when Fleisher exited his truck and walked over to the scorched remains.
All he could do at that point was place his hands over his head and stand in disbelief, shaking his head in the process.
Without insurance, Fleisher’s 24- by 48-foot pole barn and three vehicles inside, including the first truck he ever owned, will be difficult to replace.
According to Sheridan Fire Chief Ed Lingeman, the barn was engulfed in flames before Fleisher’s neighbors spotted the smoke and had a chance to react.
“Before the neighbors even had a chance to call 911, the fire consuming the barn was pretty much fully involved,” Lingeman said. “It couldn’t be saved.”
According to Lingeman, his department was dispatched at 10:57 a.m., but immediately called for mutual aid from Ronald Township.
“Ronald Township got here first, but they are only a mile and a half out and we’re nine miles out, so we called for mutual aid immediately,” he said.
Lingeman said no one was home at the time of the fire and no one was injured.
As to the cause of the fire, Lingeman said it may have been a result of previous work done on one of the cars inside the barn.
“According to the homeowner, they were doing some metal recycling, working on a vehicle,” he said. “I don’t know 100 percent whether or not a torch was in use, but there were torches next to the vehicle and the neighbors said they heard a rumbling sound.”
Lingeman said the barn was “a total loss,” other than a nearby woodshed that suffered slight damage from the fire.
“It will be a pretty substantial loss for the homeowner,” he said.
He credited Ronald Township’s quick response to the fire in saving the nearby woodshed from being consumed by the fire.
“Right there is why the mutual aid is so beneficial,” he said. “There would have been much more of a loss, probably the neighboring shed full of firewood, if Ronald Township hadn’t responded.”
Lingeman added that he does not believe the cause of the fire is suspicious in any way.
Approximately 6,000 gallons of water was used to fight the blaze.
Montcalm County EMS assisted on scene.