BENTON HARBOR-- Firefighters were only blocks away, but it took four hours to stop out-of-control flames from destroying a packaging facility in Benton Harbor.
It happened around 3:30 Tuesday morning near the 1100 block of South Crystal Avenue. Harbor Packaging has been in business for 23 years. WSBT talked with workers now concerned about their future.
As the fate of 35 workers hangs in the balance, Harbor Packaging's owners say they are working to get portions of the business up and running, soon.
It didn't take long for Diana Loewen and James Perkins to see that their work day was going to be anything but typical.
"I turned the corner and saw all the fire trucks," said Loewen.
After a closer look, it was easy to see why. It took firefighters four hours to control flames at the Benton Harbor packaging business. Owners spent the morning working with insurance claims adjusters as clean-up crews used large backhoes to shovel out some of that damage and debris for pick-up.
Lt. James Fogarty believed the blaze began in the compressor room.
Flames then spread quickly. The main hub of operations was ruined. The department's damage estimate was $210,000.00.
"They can't do anything without the compressors," said Loewen.
"Plus there is damage to the roof and everything. That has to be fixed too."
Harbor Packaging creates labels and food packaging wrappers. Slivers of paper were found outside the building.