MNR seeks information on probable arson in Allegan State gambling area


MNR seeks information on probable arson in Allegan State gambling area

Contact: CO Carter Woodwyk, 269-685-6851 Agency: Natural resources

September 30, 2021

Just after 5 a.m. on Sunday, September 26, Allegan County Central Dispatch received a report from a helicopter crew overflying the Allegan State play area of ​​a “major fire” south of 116th Avenue, east of 46th Street, in Valley Township, southwest Michigan. .

The crew said the fire consumed large logs, which turned out to be two chopped wood decks, each about 30 feet high by 150 feet long – and everything almost burned to the ground.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers are now asking the public for help with any information related to the alleged arson. Such fires are rare; In the past five years, only 4% of fires to which MNR responded were determined to be arson related.

“Although the investigation is ongoing, the first evidence points to arson,” said Sgt. Charles Towns, with the Law Enforcement Division of MNR. “It wasn’t an improvised thing.”

The fire was reportedly started between 10 p.m. Saturday and 2 a.m. Sunday. Fire suppression efforts began with the Clyde Township Fire Department, which covers Valley Township, and were led by MNR fire personnel. Assistance was provided by MNR conservation officers, as well as the Town of Fennville, Allegan District and Lee Township Fire Departments.

Billsby Lumber Company, which originally purchased the lumber, is offering a reward of $ 5,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction in this case. The estimated value of the lost wood is between $ 30,000 and $ 35,000.

Share any advice (which can be left anonymously) through the MNR Hotline for Report Poaching, at 800-292-7800. It is available for calling or texting 24/7.

Wood harvesting – along with tree planting, habitat projects, prescribed burns, and other efforts – is one way MNR is caring for Michigan’s forests for current and future generations. Learn more about how the ministry works to ensure healthy and thriving forests.

Michigan Conservation Officers are law enforcement officers who protect natural resources, provide recreation safety, and protect residents by performing general law enforcement duties and community rescue operations. that they serve. Due to the nature of their work, these officers often work with federal, state, and local law enforcement officers to ensure public safety. Learn more at

An accompanying photo is available for download below. Legend information follows. Photo credit: Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

After the fire – Allegan SGA: Charred logs cover the ground where an alleged arson attack took place early Sunday morning in the Allegan State play area in Valley Township, Michigan. It is estimated that $ 30,000 to $ 35,000 in timber has been lost.


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