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Two months later: Menominee, MI paper mill fire investigation continues

Crews battle fire at Resolute Forest Products in Menominee, Michigan. Picture of a large cloud of smoke.
Posted at 6:34 PM, Dec 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-07 15:12:54-05

MENOMINEE, MI (NBC 26) — It has been two months since a fire in Menominee, Michigan destroyed a Resolute Forest Products paper mill, and officials are now providing an update on where the investigation stands.

It was a massive fire that required crews from Michigan and Wisconsin to battle the flames for days.

RELATED: Crews battling paper mill fire in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

“The departments that responded did an awesome job,” said Mark Petersen, the Menominee Fire Chief.

The fire burned for over two weeks officially being extinguished on October 21.

RELATED: Massive fire at Menominee, Mich. paper mill now officially out

Since then, fire crews have had to go back a few times to respond to the scene.

“We went back I think four times after that. There was still some material left on site and as they were moving it, putting it into dump trucks they found some hot spots,” Petersen said.

Petersen also spoke as to why it took so long for the fire to be extinguished.

“It’s [was] just a mountain of material there and everything there is densely packed so you can spray water on the outside of it and it doesn’t get to the middle of it or the pile or that bale, so the fire continues to burn,” Petersen said.

About 200 people worked at the paper mill before the fire broke out.

RELATED: Menominee fire still smoldering four days later

A representative from Resolute Forest Products told NBC 26 over the phone that they’re still paying their employees and that they hope to open back up sometime in 2023.

“From what I understand, the companies that were impacted by the fire are all planning on rebuilding. Resolute Forest products, they’re in the process of getting their paper mill up and operating. The warehouse company KK Logistics are working on rebuilding the building and the far east tenant, which is Johnson Control incorporated, they are working with the property owner there to get that building up in the operating conditions,” said Petersen.

Chief Peterson said the Menominee Police Department is handling the investigation.

To date, there’s still no cause for the fire.