A fire burns from the AGS Automotive Systems facility in Sterling Heights.

A fire burns from the AGS Automotive Systems facility in Sterling Heights.

Photo provided by the Sterling Heights Fire Department


Firefighters douse blaze at auto business

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published January 12, 2018

 Fire crews work outside AGS Automotive Systems to extinguish a blaze.

Fire crews work outside AGS Automotive Systems to extinguish a blaze.

Photo provided by the Sterling Heights Fire Department

STERLING HEIGHTS — The Sterling Heights Fire Department moved as quickly as it could to put out a fire at an automotive parts supplier Jan. 8, and it received help from neighboring agencies to complete the job, said officials.

Fire crews reportedly learned at 7:44 p.m. that a fire broke out at AGS Automotive Systems, located at 6640 Sterling Drive South, between 14 Mile and 15 Mile roads, and between Mound Road and Van Dyke Avenue.

According to Sterling Heights, firefighters from Fire Station No. 3 responded in two minutes, 18 seconds, and then discovered a large fire by the facility’s northwest corner. Fire Chief Chris Martin said crews tried to put out the fire from inside, but explosions, broken gas lines and electrical issues reportedly hindered that. As a result, the workers tackled the fire outdoors.

The fire was declared a two-alarm fire at 8:15 p.m. Warren, Clinton Township and Shelby Township arrived to help put the blaze out — meaning that more than 40 firefighters from the various departments were involved in the effort, Martin said. Meanwhile, the Fraser, Utica and Macomb Township fire departments staffed the SHPD stations to cover other matters.

Together, the on-scene crews contained the fire but took several hours to put it out because of gas and electrical problems, according to officials.

Martin said investigators believe a forklift touched a “high-voltage electrical source,” causing nearby combustible material to catch fire.

“It was an accident, so accidents happen, much like the Buff Whelan fire,” he said, referring to the Chevrolet auto dealership in Sterling Heights that was damaged last July. “Human error is the cause of many fires.”

Unlike the dealership fire, this fire was in a smaller building that has a working fire suppression system with sprinklers. While the suppression alone didn’t put the flames out, it helped keep the fire from spreading before firefighters could contain it, Martin said.

In a statement, Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor was appreciative of the work that the SHFD did to control the fire.

“We are of course always grateful to our neighboring cities for their support and assistance in fires such as this,” he said. “The city will do what it can to assist AGS Automotive Systems to support getting production back up and running as soon as possible.”

The damage costs had not been officially estimated at press time, though Martin believed the damage plus costs related to hindered production would total in the millions of dollars.

Anyone who has more information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Sterling Heights Fire Department by calling (586) 446-2950.