Fire marshals, ATF, Almont F.D. come to

same conclusion on Smoke House fire


ALMONT TWP. — An investigation of last Friday’s (Oct. 4) fire that resulted in extensive damage to the Country Smoke House at 3294 Van Dyke, is being blamed on lint igniting in a commercial clothes dryer.
Almont Twp. Fire Chief Don Smith said the fire’s origin was determined through a collaborative investigation involving Michigan State Fire Marshals, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), and the Almont Fire Department.
Chief Smith reported that a lint build-up in the natural gas dryer’s vent ignited and made its way up to the building’s roof area.
“The fire passed through two elbows and went up the stack like a chimney, burning the roof off,” said Smith. “We had a pretty good idea what had happened early on.”
Smith added that the building owner Steve Francis’s insurance carrier was in agreement with the outcome of the investigation.
Firefighters from six local departments responded to the fire at around 12:03 a.m.
Upon their arrival, the building’s roof was already engulfed in flames.
In the immediate aftermath of the fire, Chief Smith said that about 90 percent of the business’s retail space and meat processing areas had been damaged by fire, smoke, heat and water.
Meanwhile, Steve Francis vowed to rebuild the facility and make every possible effort to meet the needs of his customers and of his 80-plus employees.
In a recent Facebook post, business owners Steve and Sue Francis reported that both the Country Smoke House’s phone line (810-798-3064) and computer systems are now up-and-running, and that staff will be notifying deer customers for pick up as soon as possible —
possibly by early next week.
“Right now, we are still cleaning out the building and thankful for an outstanding work family we have to help with everything.
“Thank you everyone for your understanding, patience, love, support and prayers. At this time, we do not have a reopening date but will let you know as soon as we do.”

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.