Fire damages local man’s business

by Jim Boyle
A Baldwin Township powder coating business caught fire last weekend, but was back up and running this week thanks to the quick response of firefighters and a team effort to seal off and clean the damaged section of the building.

The Baldwin Township Fire Department was called to Premier Powder Coating, 31521 125 1/2 St. in Princeton, about 9 a.m. Sunday on a report of smoke coming from the roof of the business.

Arlen Anderson, the brother of Troy Anderson who owns the 25-year-old finishing business, first spotted the smoke and called both 911 and his sibling. Arlen was at a neighboring storage business removing snow from the lot when he saw smoke coming from the eaves.

Firefighters and Troy Anderson rushed to the scene. Princeton Fire and Rescue and the Zimmerman Fire Department were also called in for mutual aid.

The business owner, a 44-year-old Zimmerman man, was able to show the firefighters the access points to the attic, which was filled with smoke by this time.

Fortunately the fire was confined to a particular section of the business’ attic, roof and exterior wall. After firefighters got the fire under control, they worked methodically to peel back about a 12-foot swath of metal siding on the building to get at any remnants of the blaze.

Anderson said in all his years of running the business, he never has had a fire. He said he was awestruck by the professional and passionate work of the firefighters.

The entrepreneur, who’s married and has three daughters who attend Zimmerman schools, said it’s hard to put into words what it’s like to stand back and see your business on fire and watch the firefighters’ response unfold.

“You could almost put your head in your hands and cry,” he said. “To see these firefighters put their lives on the line so passionately and professionally is something else.”

Anderson believes the cause of the fire is smouldering copper tubing from some maintenance work that was done Friday, Jan. 14.

Baldwin Fire Chief Mike Rademacher said the investigation into the fire has not been completed, so the cause of the fire has not been determined yet.

Anderson told the Star News his shop does maintenance on Fridays and on this particular workday he and his employees replaced plastic water lines with new copper lines. He said he believes one of the soldering jobs smouldered long enough to start a fire in the attic, Anderson said.

“It’s definitely a terrible thing, but first and foremost no one got hurt and no firefighters got hurt putting out such a useless fire. I don’t even know what word to use, … but it happened.”

Anderson, a 1985 Elk River High School graduate who has lived in Zimmerman for all but six years of his life, said he was thankful for the work of his employees, his wife, his friends and his brother, who helped board the business up, get it sealed and cleaned so it could be operational this past week.

“They worked a break-less 13-hour day,” Anderson said, singling out his brother who saved the day by spotting the fire. “I thank the Lord. The whole roof could have went up in flames. I thanked (Arlen) 1,000 times.”

The next step will be getting permanent repairs done when it’s not so cold.
“I could use a full night’s sleep, too,” Anderson said.

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