Fire damages Holland Township crematorium

9:57 PM, Feb 23, 2013   |    comments
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HOLLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -  Investigators are trying to determine the cause of a fire that heavily damaged a Holland Township crematorium.

Custom Concrete owns the crematorium, which is located on 166 Fifth Avenue.

The current owner came in around 10:00 AM to work on a snowmobile and discovered the building in flames.  He then called to alert authorities.

The building's owner's wife, Mary Vanderburg, says they are in the process of changing ownership.

Vanderburg says the building is split into three sections.

She says no one was hurt and no bodies were inside, but says there was a lot of expensive equipment in the building, including antique cars.

"The hot spot was in the back near the crematory," said Vanderburg.

Holland Township Fire Chief Jim Kohsel says damage is estimated at $400,000. He says five campers, five boats, vehicles, and crematory equipment were all damaged or destroyed.

Kohsel says the large fireload makes for a dangerous fire for his crew to fight.

"It's a longer process for this fire because we are defensive. We're not putting people in because there's a large fireload inside. This is more a marathon than a sprint."

Kohsel says the crematory had only been open for about a month, and hadn't been in operation since last Thursday.

Part of the building is considered a loss.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this point. Kohsel says they will start their investigation with Ottawa County on Monday.

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