Over 30 Volunteers Help Clean Up Debris After Devastating Fire To Rake Factory

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FREEPORT, Mich. — Over 30 volunteers will help clean debris and remove steel from the former Cheesebrough Rake Factory site early Saturday morning after a devastating fire.

Volunteers from all over the Freeport community wanted to help the Van Tol family, said Coordinator Gary Thaler. The family lost their factory on March 28 after flames engulfed the building, destroying the entire factory along with all their contents. According to Thaler, “people starting coming forward as soon as the fire trucks cleared wanting to help.” The family has owned the factory for over 25 years, including a place on the property.

Starting at 8 a.m., firefighters, construction workers and volunteers will congregate to the 260 Division building. Several pieces of equipment will be used, including K-12 saws and logging trucks to clear the scene, with help from several businesses providing food and equipment.

Freeport Printers also helped the Van Tol family after donating their office space to the manufacturing company, just a day after the fire. Within the week, the family purchased wood working equipment with their son Levi turning wood for the golf flag poles and rakes in space donated by Michigan Dutch Barns. Sewing machines were also added to the office for the golf flags.

According to the Michigan State Police Fire Investigator Sergeant Scott LeRoy, the cause of the fire was undetermined. The building and contents were not insured due to the age of the building.

There has been no decision yet on when Cheesebrough Manufacturing will be rebuilt. The VanTol family is considering a memorial building on the site once all the debris is cleared.

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