[cifnmedia] Spartan Oil refinery blaze

  • From: "George Mc Grath" <gmcgrath@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Sean Aaron" <cifn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <cifnmedia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 1 Sep 2004 11:52:53 -0700

Published September 1, 2004

Full-alarm fire
Spartan Oil refinery blaze clogs rush-hour traffic in Lansing

By Tracy Burton 
Lansing State Journal

      (ROD SANFORD/Lansing State Journal)
      Douse it: Firefighters start to pour water on a fire Tuesday afternoon at 
Spartan Oil Corp. in Lansing near the intersection of Elm and Cedar streets. 
The blaze was a full-alarm fire, meaning all of the city's 16 first-line rigs 
responded. It started at about 4 p.m. in a motor oil storage facility before 
spreading to a maintenance building
      Spartan Oil Corp.

      . Founded: 1953

      . Historically: Operated 30 Bay gas stations throughout Michigan

      . Now: Distributes lubricants and equipment statewide for companies 
including Shell Oil and Conoco-Phillips, parent company of Kendall.

      . 2003 sales: $38 million

      . Employees: 70

      . Facilities: Lansing, Allen Park and Muskegon.

      Related articles:

      a.. Fire draws onlookers to scene

      Photo Galleries:
      Fire at Spartan Oil Corp.


Lansing firefighters are investigating what caused a massive blaze Tuesday at 
Spartan Oil Corp. - one of the state's largest petroleum distributors.

No one was injured at the Elm Street refinery site, fire officials said. A 
damage estimate was not available Tuesday night.

Late Tuesday, Lansing firefighter Bruce Odom said arson wasn't suspected.

Beginning today, the oil company's other Lansing facilities and sites in Allen 
Park and Muskegon will increase their operations to compensate for the loss, 
said Joe Maguire, who owns the business with his father, Bruce Jr., and his 
brother, Bruce III.

"This will only be a mild disruption in our operations," Joe Maguire said, 
adding that the offices on site will be open today.

Traffic was backed up for several hours on Cedar Street near Interstate 496, 
but no crashes or injuries were reported, Lansing police said.

Power that was cut off as a safety measure was restored by 8 p.m. Tuesday to 
all but 40 of the 3,000 customers living or working several blocks in all 
directions from the fire site - at the intersection of Cedar and Elm streets. 
Power was expected to be restored by today for the remaining customers.

Frustrated neighbors and business owners grappled with the loss of power and 
clogged traffic caused by closed roads and nonfunctioning stoplights.

"I just saw all this black smoke. I didn't know what it was," said Camilla 
Dear, who lives blocks from the refinery. "Then I saw the firetrucks with their 
sirens wailing. I was worried."

Firefighters said the blaze started about 4 p.m. in a motor oil storage 
facility before spreading to a neighboring maintenance building. The lone 
employee inside one of the buildings escaped, Odom said.

"He's very, very lucky," Odom said, as black smoke billowed from behind him.

The main warehouse on site as well as the office buildings and homes in the 
immediate area were not affected by fire, officials said.

Ingham County Health Department officials said the blaze, which took more than 
four hours to extinguish, didn't create hazardous fumes.

Odom said that the two loud explosions that came shortly after the fire started 
were from propane tanks that burst.

Odom called the blaze a full-alarm fire, meaning all of the city's 16 
first-line rigs responded. A crash fire rescue vehicle from Capital City 
Airport also responded.

Fire departments from East Lansing, Meridian Township and Delta Township 
covered the city's stations during the fire.

Cleanup crews were on site Tuesday and were expected to work most of the day 

Maguire said the company had insurance to help cover the loss.

"Unfortunately, that building appears to be totaled," he said. "You hope this 
kind of thing never happens, but you do have a plan, and we're following ours."

Staff writers Susan Stock and Sharon Terlep contributed to this report. Contact 
Tracy Burton at 377-1206 or tburton@xxxxxxxx

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