It is not the first time that the Lakelands Concrete Products company has had a fire, but thankfully the one that broke out on Saturday night (March 2) at around 10 p.m. at the plant, 7520 East Main Street in Lima, was not as devastating as the twin fires in January 1968 within four days of each other, the second one of which destroyed the business when it was located on Maplewood Avenue in the village of Honeoye Falls.
The cause of the March 2 fire is still under investigation, but Kevin Niedermaier, director of the Livingston County Office of Emergency Management and a fire investigator said that preliminary investigation shows that it was accidental in nature, but that the investigation is continuing to determine the specific cause.
Company President Todd Clarke says he hopes the plant will resume operations by Wednesday.
Lima Fire Chief Tim Vandevelt said he was driving south on York Street in Lima when he spotted a suspicious glow and followed the glow to the fire at Lakelands.
The fire was in a building that stores material used in manufacturing the plant’s concrete products. Before the two-alarm could be controlled, which took about an hour, parts of the building had collapsed. During the fire, Route 5 & 20 and nearby village streets were closed off to traffic to allow firefighters, which eventually numbered over 50 from 12 area departments in Monroe, Livingston and Ontario Counties, to tank water to the scene.
Lima Fire Department received mutual aid from Honeoye Falls, Hemlock, Livonia, Lakesville, Mendon, Mumford, Scottsville, East Avon, Caledonia, Ionia and West Bloomfield, much of it in the form of tanker trucks.
“There is a hydrant in front of Lakelands, but it would not have been able to supply the amount of water we needed to put out the fire, so that is why we needed the tankers,” Vandevelt said. “We didn’t need a full third-alarm assignment, but we needed a couple of extra tanker trucks so that is why Caledonia and Mendon came to the scene.”
The Avon Fire Department filled in at East Avon with Rush standing by for Honeoye Falls.
According to the company’s website, the company started in Avon in 1951 before relocating to Maplewood Avenue in Honeoye Falls. That plant was hit by the twin fires in 1968 and in February of that year, the Honeoye Falls plant was sold and a new building erected on the present site in Lima.