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Officials: Fire at Michigan mulch facility could burn a week

MOTTVILLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A fire at a mulch manufacturing facility in southwestern Michigan has been contained and could take a week to burn itself out, officials said Tuesday.

The fire started Monday afternoon in Mottville Township, near the Indiana state line, and fire departments from several counties in Michigan and Indiana responded. White Pigeon Township Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Tyler Royce said about 15 acres (6 hectares) burned at the roughly 35-acre (14-hectare) property.

“There won’t be much threat, but it’s going to burn for a while,” he said.

A firefighter was treated and released for smoke inhalation, WWMT-TV reported.

Michigan transportation officials shut down a highway in St. Joseph County, Michigan, as crews responded, but the roadway was back open Tuesday. Excavators and other heavy machinery were used to help fight the fire, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported.

A mulch business has operated at the site since the 1990s, and it was sold to a recycling business in December, said Doug Kuhlman, Mottville Township’s zoning administrator and code compliance officer. The fire burned piles of wood mulch, as well as a maintenance building and another building.

Fire officials said wind and piles of recyclable material made the fire difficult to contain. The cause is under investigation.

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