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Michigan governor declares state of emergency for Menominee County due to Resolute fire

MENOMINEE, Mich. (From news reports) -- More state funding is now available to Menominee County as first responders have now battled a warehouse fire for one week. Governor Whitmer declared a state of emergency for the county earlier Thursday.

"That should provide up to at least $250,000 to both the city and county, each. That is going to be critical because the disaster is easily going to exceed $500,000. Which, is well over seven percent of the county's annual budget," said Ed McBroom (R-Waucedah Township).

"Without the assistance, the city of Menominee would not be able to sustain the financial burden from this catastrophic event," said Brett Botboyl, city of Menominee city manager. "It will also afford us the ability to continue to secure resources to keep personnel safe and protect our city."

This declaration also allows the state to cover some of the cost of bringing in fire departments from lower Michigan. Senator McBroom visited Menominee two days after the fire started and met with community leaders.

"It is a massive undertaking. It is a huge fire, a huge mess to clean up, and everyone is working well together," McBroom said.

The incident leadership is structured in a unified command where local, state and federal agencies co-exist to make decisions. McBroom said the response from communities across the state and Wisconsin has been critical.

"We are very grateful for everybody doing their part," McBroom said. "Hopefully we can get this fire put out and rebuilt as quickly as possible, so we don't lose the jobs that have been impacted by this fire."

McBroom said once the fire is put out in the coming days, debris clean-up will begin. The EPA said monitoring of air and water supply will continue to ensure safety.

No injuries have been reported in this fire, which is in a warehouse next to Resolute Forest Products. The state's request for an incident management team has been approved. There's no estimate for when they will arrive in Menominee. A full press release from Governor Whitmer's office is below.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency Thursday for Menominee County to assist with the emergency response to a large-scale industrial fire that began at a paper plant and neighboring warehouse in Menominee on Thursday, Oct. 6.

"I want to thank the first responders from Michigan and Wisconsin who joined forces battling this fire day and night to prevent it from spreading further and causing more damage," said Governor Whitmer. "Through this emergency declaration, we are dedicating every available resource to fire suppression efforts, environmental protection, and financial assistance for the local response. We will be there to assist until the emergency response is completed."

On Oct. 7, Menominee County declared a local state of emergency due to a large-scale fire that broke out at Resolute Forest Products and a neighboring warehouse. Firefighters from both Michigan and Wisconsin responded to the ongoing incident. The Environmental Protection Agency also dispatched a team to conduct air quality monitoring and testing because an 8,000-gallon tank of peroxide was in the fire's likely path. Residents of both the city of Menominee and the city of Marinette, Wisconsin have been advised to shelter in place due to smoke-related hazards.

Despite local efforts, Menominee needs additional state support to combat the fire. State resources are also needed to provide technical assistance to ensure that water run-off from fire suppression efforts do not threaten local water supplies. Further, the local jurisdictions have incurred substantial costs in connection with fire suppression and other clean-up efforts.

"Thank you to all those who have worked so hard to put out the fire and clean up the mess, including the multiple communities across the region that responded with aid," said Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Waucedah Township. "The MSP has done a great job getting this request in to the governor and I thank her for the very quick approval so the communities can move forward in finishing the work."

The declaration of a local state of emergency activates local emergency response and recovery plans. By requesting a governor's declaration, the county has determined local resources are insufficient to address the situation, and state assistance is necessary to protect public health, safety, and property and to lessen or avert the threat of more severe and lasting harm.

By declaring a state of emergency, Governor Whitmer has made available all state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery efforts in the designated area. The declaration authorizes the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) to coordinate state efforts above and beyond what MSP/EMHSD has already been doing in conjunction with local agencies.

"The governor's declaration will be immensely helpful because without this assistance the City of Menominee would not be able to sustain the financial burden from this catastrophic event," said Brett Botbyl, City of Menominee City Manager. "It will also afford us the ability to continue to secure resources to keep personnel safe and protect our city."

In addition to the declaration, Governor Whitmer activated the State Emergency Operations Center ensuring all state resources are available to support the local community, as necessary.

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