Mid-April fire at Milty’s in Lansing turns into a learning experience for many


The culprits and the heroes ... The Lansing Fire Department was called to Milty’s in downtown Lansing for a small fire Thursday afternoon, April 17. The cause of the fire was recently washed and dried kitchen towels that had been covered up and spontaneously combusted in a storage bin, the remnants of which are pictured in the photo above submitted by Milty’s owner Mike Conway. Lansing Fire Department volunteers, some of whom are pictured below in the photo taken by Susan-Cantine Maxson, quickly put out the burning towels with a fire extinguisher and were on the scene of the fire for a little over a half hour.

The Lansing Fire Department was called to Milty’s, located at 200 Main Street in Lansing, for a small fire of a somewhat unusual nature Thursday afternoon, April 17. The fire began in the laundry area near the kitchen in the back of the large Milty’s building, and a quick response by employees and the Lansing Fire Department volunteers prevented the incident from being much worse than it was.

Milty’s owner Mike Conway said that employees reported smelling “something burning,” but an initial search could not turn up the source. Eventually, a haze was noticed coming from the laundry room, and the employees quickly called the fire department. “I am very grateful they called the fire department when they did,” Conway said. “By the time the fire department arrived, we did have a fire.”

Conway explained that kitchen towels the business uses from Aramark had been recently washed, dried in the dryer and placed in a nearby bin in the laundry room. Aramark made a delivery of new towels shortly after and placed them on top of the recently laundered ones. Conway further explained that the combination of those usual actions somehow resulted in the laundered towels beginning to smolder and eventually spontaneously combust to result in the small fire.

Conway said the smoke had become heavy by the time the fire department arrived, but the department volunteers doused the fire right away with a fire extinguisher, preventing the fire from doing any further damage beyond the burned towels. However, the smoke, extinguisher contents and removal of the burned towels did require some clean-up and fumigation of the building, resulting in Milty’s closing for the remainder of the evening but opening as usual the next day.

“I want to personally say a big ‘thank you’ to all of the firemen who came to help us out,” Conway said. “We are very lucky to have the EMS, fire and police departments we have in our small community. Chief (Tony) Becker later called me and made sure everything was OK, and asked if I needed anything for insurance, etc.”

Conway shared that even though the fire, itself, was small and quickly contained, it has led to a great deal of appreciation and learning opportunities for all involved. “We are working with the fire department to provide a diagram of the building along with the layout of the upper level of the building, which has four full-time rented apartments and one lodging unit,” Conway explained. “Also, a few of the firemen are going to do a walk-through of all the apartments above Milty’s to make sure they are prepared should anything like this happen again. Many of them weren’t aware I had that many apartments in my building.”
 

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