Crews investigate fire that destroyed Bear Lake buildings

No one was hurt in the fire, but flames left near by buildings with shattered windows and smoke damage.

MANISTEE COUNTY, Mi. (WPBN/WGTU) — The investigation into what sparked a fire that destroyed two buildings in downtown Bear Lake is underway.

The fire started around 3:30 Sunday afternoon.

Fire crews from surrounding communities worked to put out the fire for more than eight hours.

The buildings were in the heart of downtown Bear Lake. One was used to store antiques. Nearby buildings were also damaged.

“The building to the west had some damage, broken windows, did actually catch fire but firefighters were able to put that out right away,” Bear Lake Township Fire Chief Sean Adams said.

No one was hurt, but flames left near by buildings with shattered windows and smoke damage.

Firefighters that were first on scene say when they drove by, there was only smoke coming from the building. They returned with the fire truck within minutes, and the building was engulfed in flames.

“The fire developed and grew very rapidly, but a lot of that has to do with the structure," said Adams. "It was very old, it was a full wood structure; there was a lot of wood antiques inside of it, so just tons of fuel that was very dry so it just took off so fast."

The fire chief says the inside of the building was not hooked up to electricity but it was hooked up outside. He says his department rarely sees fires this large.

Adams believes the fire started on the lower level of the building.

“When I was a child, that was the odd fellow, so they had bingo and pot lucks,” said Char Myers, who has lived in Bear Lake her entire life. “I hope that they can find out what happened just in case there is something we should be concerned about.”

Smoke was still coming from debris at the scene as of 7:00 p.m. Monday night.

Fire crews continue to investigate the cause of the fire.

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