Town rebuilding after fire destroys downtown - WNEM TV 5

Town rebuilding after fire destroys downtown

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BYRON, MI (WNEM) -

It was a bittersweet day for residents in one Mid-Michigan community.

More than a year and a half ago, flames ripped through the heart of downtown Byron, erasing 125 years of history in just a few hours.

On Friday the last of the buildings damaged in that fire were finally demolished and though villagers said a big part of their past has been lost, they can finally look forward to a new beginning.

"I played dancing in there when I was a teenager," Fred Buckner said.

Buckner reflected on times when the rubble used to stand high as a fixture in the Bryon community.

The 125-year-old block of buildings were once home to the New Image Salon and Jannelle's restaurant.

The historic buildings played an important role in the community and those surrounding it.

"It brought people from all over, St. Johns, Owosso, everywhere," Ashley Russell said.

That is until October 2012 when fire left the buildings in shambles. Russell's family owned one of the businesses inside.

"It hit home because these were our businesses, these were our livelihood. It's such a small town," Russell said.

Residents said they want to rebuild brick by brick because this is, after all a place where so many memories were created and sustained.

"I asked if I could take some bricks home and put them around my trees," Maryanne Dungerow said.

The residents are hoping for a better tomorrow.

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