Fire at Michigan paper mill closes roads, residents told to shelter in place while air monitored

Sep 14, 2023, 6:15 AM

CHEBOYGAN, Mich. (AP) — Resident near a northern Michigan paper mill that caught fire Wednesday, prompting the closure of several roads and a lock and dam on a nearby river, have been told to shelter in place until Thursday afternoon as environmental officials continue monitoring local air quality.

Plumes of thick and heavy black and gray smoke visible for miles around billowed from the Tissue Depot property along M-27 in downtown Cheboygan, about 290 miles (466 kilometers) northwest of Detroit, after the fire began about 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Officials said fire crews had contained the fire to a storage building at the mill as of 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, but asked people to avoid the area as crews continue battling the fire.

Cheboygan Fire Chief Don Dailey said no mill employees or firefighters have been injured.

He said the fire started in a part of the mill where no employees were working at the time. Crews were alerted that there were several tons of plastic stored in the building, Dailey said. He said there wasn’t enough left of the damaged structure to “determine an actual cause because the roof collapsed about 10 minutes after we got here.”

“We are tearing it down as we put the fire out, so we probably aren’t going to be able to determine an official cause,” he said Wednesday.

Cheboygan residents living with a 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) radius of the Tissue Depot were told to continue to shelter in place until 1:30 p.m. Thursday “out of an abundance of caution,” the Cheboygan County Sheriff’s Department said in a Facebook post.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was monitoring local air quality and EPA officials were expected to meet Thursday morning with city and county officials to discuss the air quality findings, the sheriff’s office said.

Staff with Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy were sent to Cheboygan on Wednesday afternoon “to help assess the situation,” spokesman Jeff Johnston told The Associated Press in an email.

The nearby Cheboygan Lock and Dam, which allows boats to navigate the different levels of the Cheboygan River, was temporarily closed.

Trisha Leask, an employee at a convenience store a few blocks from the fire, said she noticed the smoke Wednesday morning.

“The smoke billowed for hours. It looked like black storm clouds,” Leask said, adding that it’s not the first time the property has caught fire.

Formerly known as Great Lakes Tissue Co., the mill once employed about 300 workers.

United States News

Associated Press

Powerful storm in California and Nevada shuts interstate and dumps snow on mountains

RENO, Nev. (AP) — A powerful blizzard raged overnight into Saturday in the Sierra Nevada as the biggest storm of the season shut down a long stretch of Interstate-80 in California and gusty winds and heavy rain hit lower elevations, leaving tens of thousands of customers without power. Up to 10 feet (3 meters) of […]

4 hours ago

Musher Dutch Johnson, a kennel manager at The August Foundation for Alaska Racing Dogs, runs a dog ...

Associated Press

Alaska’s Iditarod dogs get neon visibility harnesses after 5 were fatally hit while training

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Iditarod, the annual sled dog race celebrating Alaska’s official state sport, is set to get underway Saturday with a new focus on safety after five dogs died and eight were injured in collisions with snowmobiles while training on shared, multi-use trails. For the first time, mushers who line up for […]

7 hours ago

FILE - Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference...

Associated Press

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton beat impeachment. Now he wants Super Tuesday revenge on his foes

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton beat impeachment. On Super Tuesday, he wants political revenge. The Republican, who just six months ago was on the brink of removal from office, is charging into Texas’ primaries on a dramatic campaign to oust dozens in his own party. They include rank-and-file legislators, state judges […]

7 hours ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., speaks at the Capitol in Washington, Feb. 29, 2024. Short...

Associated Press

Ukrainian troops are rationing ammo. But House Republicans plan to take weeks to consider aid

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ukrainian drones fly without ammunition. Russian artillery unleash deadly volleys from safe positions beyond the range of Kyiv’s troops. Shortages of ammo and supplies are resulting in lost ground to Moscow, U.S. congressional leaders warn, yet the Republican-controlled House has shown little hurry to resupply Ukraine with military aid. Across Washington, officials […]

7 hours ago

FILE - Registered Republican voters stand in line March 6, 2012, for the caucus event in Rathdrum, ...

Associated Press

Republicans in Idaho, Missouri and Michigan will meet to weigh in on the presidential race

More delegates are up for grabs Saturday as former President Donald Trump looks to get closer to clinching the Republican nomination and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley seeks her first win. Trump, who is especially strong in caucuses, is expected to add to his delegate lead in Republican caucuses in Idaho and Missouri, as well […]

7 hours ago

FILE - Music fans relax during a break in the entertainment at the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair, A...

Associated Press

Peace, music and memories: As the 1960s fade, historians scramble to capture Woodstock’s voices

BETHEL, N.Y. (AP) — Woodstock didn’t even happen in Woodstock. The fabled music festival, seen as one of the seminal cultural events of the 1960s, took place 60 miles (96.5 kilometers) away in Bethel, New York, an even smaller village than Woodstock. It’s a fitting misnomer for an event that has become as much legend […]

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Fire at Michigan paper mill closes roads, residents told to shelter in place while air monitored