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Holly man left without his ‘second home’ after downtown fire

People in the Village of Holly are in shock at what is left of their downtown after flames erupted Tuesday afternoon destroying or damaging several businesses.
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 9:56 PM EDT
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HOLLY, Mich. (WNEM) - People in the Village of Holly are in shock at what is left of their downtown after flames erupted Tuesday afternoon destroying or damaging several businesses.

Many are mourning the loss of history and their favorite places.

For others, the downtown provided their livelihoods, dreams, and for at least one man a home away from home.

“I was out of a surgery, just looking for a job to get me out of the house while I was recuperating, and I found a home. I found my absolute favorite job,” said Chris Lauinger, cook at Andy’s Place.

He found Andy’s Place, a bar and grill in downtown Holly.

“I come here, and I feel good about what I do every day. I feel like I’m part of something, a family,” Lauinger said.

Lauinger was at his self-proclaimed “happy place” Tuesday when fire devastated part of the downtown area.

“We noticed a whole line of fire going up the side of the building there. With the wind we had yesterday, it was just getting out of control really fast,” Lauinger said.

The fire started about 4 p.m. at Battle Alley Arcade Antiques. It quickly spread, severely damaging the historic Holly Hotel and leaving Andy’s Place a shell.

“How quick your life can change,” Lauinger said.

A hard lesson Lauinger learned years ago. Tuesday was the second time a fire altered his life. The first was when his apartment went up in flames.

“Horrific, absolutely horrific. My daughter and I were in an apartment fire about seven years ago in this town. Literally, about two blocks away. So, this hit pretty close to home for us,” Lauinger said.

Lauinger considered Andy’ Place his second home.

“I was cooking literally behind the bar in view of all of our customers. They could come up, watch their food be cooked, compliment me. The interaction with the customers that I get is what I liked about it,” Lauinger said.

The bar top he cooked behind and the hood he cooked under is still standing inside the brick building without a roof.

“I was here until after midnight last night, I think. Barely got any sleep. Back here first thing this morning. I told them I’m going to keep coming to work and sit out there. What else am I going to do right now?” Lauinger said.

He said a restoration company told them they just need one wall to be able to restore the building.

They are holding onto that hope they will be able to bring Andy’s Place back.

“I live in a great community and we’re going to rebuild. We’re going to come back, and Andy’s Place will still be here, and we’ll be better than ever. I can’t wait for that,” Lauinger said.

There is a GoFundMe to help employees of Andy’s Place. There are seven employees at Andy’s Place that are now out of work for an undetermined length of time. You can donate here.