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Businesses assess damage after massive fire in downtown Holly

Many businesses were saved after a devastating fire in downtown Holly on Tuesday, but some are a complete loss.
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 3:40 PM EDT
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HOLLY, Mich. (WNEM) - Many businesses were saved after a devastating fire in downtown Holly on Tuesday, but some are a complete loss.

One of the businesses with a lot of smoke and water damage is the historic Holly Hotel.

This is the third fire to damage the property.

“It isn’t just our historic downtown. For many, this is their livelihoods, their dreams, their joy,” said Holly Police Chief Jerry Narsh.

Narsh said Wednesday his city will rebuild after Tuesday’s devastating fire downtown. The fire started at Battle Alley Arcade Antiques at about 4 p.m. One of his sergeants was driving by and saw the smoke.

“Unfortunately, we had some winds pop up about that time. The officers immediately responded and while the fire department was in response, the police team was actually able to safely evacuate everybody from these businesses in this block,” Narsh said.

The Antiques Store and Andy’s Place are total losses.

The historic Holly Hotel had some fire, but more water and smoke damage. The same is true with the Holly Moose Lodge.

“However, we had many businesses that were in the district, due to the amount of water that was put on the other buildings to keep them from igniting, is going to cause water damage inside,” Narsh said.

Narsh said five firefighters went to the hospital for heat exhaustion and minor injuries. All have been released and are okay.

“I think up to 17 fire stations responded. A tremendous response, and they were able to save the remainder of our historic downtown,” Narsh said.

Narsh thanked the Holly Public Works Department for diverting water pressure from residential areas to save many of the 19th century wood structures.

He said there will be meetings to figure out what buildings can be re-occupied.

“Just be strong, we’ll rebuild. We can rebuild businesses, we can rebuild buildings, we can’t rebuild lives,” Narsh said.

“It’s terrible,” said Holly resident Gary Mills. “What a tragedy. It’s awful. Awful. Unbelievable.”

The community is mourning the loss of historic businesses after Tuesday’s fire.

“I’ll miss going through the antique arcade. I used to make a point of it, going through there every year and see what’s changed, what’s new. So, it’ll be missed. Everything will be missed,” said Holly resident Patty Mills.

Patty Mills and her husband Gary have visited many of the impacted buildings.

“I remember taking my mother to lunch in the holly hotel one time. It was quite an experience,” Patty Mills said.

Narsh said the fire department contained the flames well. He thanked the community for their support, especially those who left cold water and drinks like these on the perimeter of the scene.

Linda Stouffer owns Battle Alley Coffee just down the street from Battle Alley Arcade Antiques.

“We were worried about a shift in the winds, which would have taken it right to our coffee shop. But thank god that didn’t happen,” Stouffer said.

She said the coffee shop has been getting calls all day and nearly the whole village has come downtown to see the damage.

“It’s really sad when you see something that, yeah, they may be able to rebuild it, but it’s not going to be the same. I mean it’s not the same bricks, it’s not the same love that went into it over a hundred years ago,” Stouffer said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.