HOLLY, Mich. – Fire crews are still on the scene working on hot spots of the devastating fire in Holly.
The flames burned down the Antiques Arcade, Andy’s Place, seriously damaged the rear of the Holly Hotel, and there’s untold damage at the Moose Lodge.
The fire started in Battle Alley right behind the Antique Arcade and spread until a heavy veil of white smoke obscured everything from view.
Holly police officers were the first to spot the fire.
“They saw smoke,” said Holly Police Department Chief Jerry Narsh. “There was actually an officer coming through who said that he saw smoke. He called me at 4:03 p.m.”
Read: Crews battle fire affecting several buildings in Downtown Holly
They started evacuating four businesses in the fire zone, which included the Antiques Arcade, the Holly Hotel, Andy’s Place, and the Moose Lodge.
“Our people got out safely, and that’s all that matters,” said Liz Chapin whose family owns Andy’s Place. “Nobody’s hurt .”
Officials say the wind greatly affected how fast the fire spread.
“I saw smoke billowing across the parking lot between the hotel and Andy’s Place,” said Shannon Clarke. “I was like, ‘is something on fire?’ It was just insane.”
Officials say 150 firefighters from departments across Oakland County answered the call to try and keep the fire from taking out the entirety of Holly’s Historic Downtown.
Five firefighters had to be sent downtown to the hospital for heat exhaustion.
“I can’t even imagine contending with the heat that is occurring and standing on top of the fire,” said witness Cari Zwyicki. “My heart goes out to them.”
The community started passing out water and pizza to those who were out protecting the community.
“They’re out here protecting our community,” said witness Bre Clark. “It’s the least we can do.”
Both Andy’s Place and the Moose Lodge had undergone significant renovations during COVID, and now it’s either up in smoke or hopelessly waterlogged.
“It’s crushing, but the people are great, the communities great, we do everything for everyone. “You just hate to see it,” said past Moose Lodge President Dennis Justice.
The cause of why the fire occurred is still unclear, but officials say that the fire wasn’t started in the kitchen but electrical.