51st CST responds to Allegan fire

Members of the 51st Civil Support Team, Michigan National Guard, Sgt. First Class David Alexander, Sgt. Billie Ketelaar and Sgt. Joseph Boesler are prepared to enter a building to provide backup should the need arise while assisting other agencies responding to a fire at the Allegan Metal Finishing Company in Allegan, Mich., March 15, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Mark Sitterly/Released)

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The Augusta-based Michigan Army National Guard, 51st Civil Support Team, provided air testing services in support of other agencies responding to a fire at the Allegan Metal Finishing Company building in Allegan March 15, 2015.

The 51st was requested to monitor the air as a result of chemicals in the plant. Their tests showed no hazards in the air.  They were alerted Sunday morning around 7 a.m. and were able to be at the scene at noon with 15 personnel and six vehicles.“The 51st CST provides a number of capabilities available at short notice to assist first responders with an incident,” said Maj. Mark Sitterly, commander of the 51st and senior CST member at the incident. “One of those capabilities is testing the air for contaminants.”

The 51st CST is available to respond to a variety of chemical, nuclear, biological or radiological incidents in support of other civilian agencies. Prior to the Allegan fire, the CST was in Key West, Fla., to undergo technical proficiency exercises involving suspected biological and radiological threats.

“We are happy to support the citizens of the area and play a role in ensuring their safety,” said Sitterly.

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