Witness: two women set multiple fires near Saugatuck


SAUGATUCK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Crews battled five fires along a 10 mile stretch on the southbound side of I-196 near Saugatuck Wednesday night.

Saugatuck Township Fire Chief Greg Janik says a semi driver saw two women on the side of the I-196 highway light a piece of paper on fire, then throw it into the grass.

The fires erupted along the expressway starting around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. One consumed about three quarters of an acre.

"Then another fire came in at mile marker 39, another fire around mile marker 37 and then one around 34," said Janik, who says his crews were already stretched thin responding to a semi incident and a medical call at the same time.

"Here we had 5 calls on top of one another, so we call additional resources in with different fire departments," said Janik.

Temperatures in the 90s and extremely dry conditions made fighting the fires dangerous. Michigan State Police are still investigating if the fires were intentionally set and by whom.

"You have the cost involved and then you get the risk factor of someone being hit or getting hurt in a fire but you look at the cost to the taxpayer and that's what's criminal."

Chief Janik says a witness says two young women driving a beige, beat up SUV started the fires. If you have any information call State Police or the Allegan County Sheriff's Office.

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