BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (Battle Creek Enquirer) -- Firefighters battled heavy flames this afternoon at Cereal City Recycling, 15160 6½-Mile Road.
The fire was reported about 3:40 p.m. at the recycling center, near Golden Drive.
The fire involved paper products outside, structures on the site, and a brushy area across 6½-Mile Road.
Firefighters were attempting to get inside the main structure at the recycling center to look for fire, but heavy flames outside were keeping them back.
One firefighter collapsed as he battled the flames shortly before 5 p.m. He was taken away by a Lifecare Ambulance.
Three aerial trucks were pumping water on the blaze.
Electrical transformers on one power pole became engulfed in flames and exploded.
Firefighters were warned to avoid a part of the fire scene because tranformers were in danger of falling from power poles.
About 4,000 Consumers Energy customers near the fire were without power because the blaze forced the utility company to de-energize a power pole and line near the plant, said Consumers spokeswoman Debra Dodd. As firefighting continued, Dodd said she could not provide an estimated restoration time.
She said the line went down at about 5 p.m. and the company was examining its system to see if other substations could be used to provide power to customers in the area. She said Consumers crews were on the scene to make sure the pole near the fire stayed standing.
The danger, she said, was if the fire caused the pole to come down "we could have more customers out."
Huge paper and cardboard bales appeared to make up the bulk of the material that was burning.
Billowing smoke from the fire could be seen across the Battle Creek area.
By 5:30 p.m., it was clear firefighters were winning the battle. The heavy black smoke that had billowed from the scene for more than 90 minutes had been replaced by lighter gray smoke.
Emmett Township firefighters requested mutual aid in fighting the fire from Battle Creek and the townships of Pennfield, Leroy, Newton, Bedford and Marshall.
Part of the problem: Winds were blowing near 20 mph this afternoon from the southeast.
There was no immediate word on injuries and no information available on the cause of the fire.
The company, at the corner of 6½-Mile Road and Golden Avenue, is a community drop-off site for recyclable paper, plastic and other products. It also handles recycling for offices, acts as a brokerage for raw materials, converts recyclables into paper products and handles confidential paper destruction, according to its website, cerealcityrecycling.com.