Three people managed to escape unharmed after a business caught fire early Friday morning.
Firefighters were called to Isabella Pellet, 6900 W. Baseline Road, in Isabella County, about 4:52 a.m.
"Right when I pulled on scene there were flames on the roof of the office part. There were flames visible throughout the structure. I knew right away this was something substantially different from what we've seen in the past with this building," Lake Isabella Village Manager Tim Wolff said.
There were reports of an explosion, and officials said the fire started near the back of the business, which manufacturers heating pellets and pine equine bedding pellets.
"There's a lot of flammable material inside in terms of the sawdust material inside. And they're making a heating element essentially so it's certainly a fire that's going to take a long time to put out," Wolff said.
Multiple fire departments were called in, and Consumers Energy shut off the gas and power to the building to help crews.
Despite their efforts, the building is a complete loss and is being torn down.
The fire was so large a neighbor two blocks down saw flames above the tree line in her back yard, but the sounds she heard were even worse.
"I think that the mill just exploded and that's what it sounded like, a bomb going off," said Joyce Swan, neighbor.
Six surrounding fire departments responded.
"So what we have in Isabella County is called a tanker task force. So when there's a major structure fire, the departments call on mutual aid from the other departments to send them their tankers so that they can bring in water constantly to the scene because there isn't a fire hydrant around to hook up to," Wolff said.
Wolff said the community will come together to support the business owner, whatever their future might hold.
"Our thoughts go out to them because this is truly a tough loss and it's not something they can quickly rebuild or replace," Wolff said.
No one was hurt.