Local grain elevator hit by lightning, catches fire
FRANKENMUTH TOWNSHIP, MI (WNEM) -
Authorities have issued an "all clear" after a Frankenmuth Township grain elevator was hit by lightning and was on fire for a time Tuesday morning.
According to WNEM TV5's Brian Wood, fire crews were called to the Star of the West Grain Co. mill elevator, on Gera Road between Bradley and King roads in Saginaw County, to extinguish the fire around 8 a.m.
>>UPDATE: As of 3 p.m., Gera Road has reopened to traffic<<
After the lightning strike, witnesses said they heard three small explosions. The explosions involved bins that contained grain and fumes, which when mixed with water from rain or fire hoses, could cause further explosions. Grain dust can by very flammable when it's in a confined area.
About seven homes around the elevator site were evacuated until the grain bins aired out.
A HAZMAT team and the Frankenmuth Fire Department were at the scene in case there was any problem with the gases coming from the grain bins.
It's unknown how much damage has been done to the elevator. WNEM.com will add further details to this story as they come into our newsroom.
Meanwhile, a lightning strike is being blamed for a fire at a church on Bay City's northwest side. Lightning hit the steeple of New Bethel Testimonial Church around 8 a.m. Rain from the storm is being credited with containing the fire to the steeple and firefighters quickly put out the blaze.
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