Four businesses damaged in Fenton fire

Four businesses were damaged by a fire in Fenton on Tuesday.
Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 3:43 PM EDT
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FENTON, Mich. (WNEM) - Four businesses were damaged by a fire in Fenton on Tuesday.

The fire broke out before 1:30 p.m. on June 28 near Adelaide and Mill Street in downtown Fenton.

El Topo, a popular restaurant in the area, was one of the businesses that sustained damage.

The Fenton Fire Chief said nobody was injured, but several firefighters did get checked out as a precaution due to the heat.

The exact cause remains under investigation, but the chief says it started in a dumpster, spread to a car, then to nearby buildings.

“We have four buildings affected. The El Topo restaurant and Fenton Resource and Referral both have sustained major damage. The barn behind me that was owned by the doctor’s office is obviously a total loss and we also have the vehicle and a couple neighboring buildings that have some exterior damage,” said Fenton Fire Chief Robert Cairnduff.

They were assisted by multiple other fire departments including the Village of Holly, which suffered a massive fire to their downtown last week.

“We heard all the sirens and everything. We could see the gray and the white smoke billowing in the sky, we could hear the helicopters and see the helicopters,” said Fenton resident Chapin Kartsounes.

“It’s hard, especially after the history with the Holly Hotel just went, and now we have this happening in Fenton. It’s very hard. And it’s scary so close to home, too,” said Fenton residents Melanie and Eric Raeb.

The initial cause is still under investigation.

“The tank ruptured on the vehicle and the fuel spread across the parking lot to the neighboring business and caught the outside of the business on fire,” fire chief said….

Both El Topo and the Relief and Resource Company were beloved by Kartsounes.

“I was so sad because this is literally my favorite place to come get tacos and I’ve been to the speakeasy many times with my friends,” Kartsounes said.

The speakeasy concept drew attention from afar and brought people to Fenton.

“The speakeasy has gone viral online many times. Like I said, the people coming into our town, it helps with the economy and everything. We need that,” Kartsounes said.

Brooklyn Queener was a hostess for El Topo.

“I lost my job,” Queener said.

Queener said she’s thankful she did not go in to work Tuesday.

“I got the text from my friend saying that it was on fire and I was shocked because I was supposed to work today, and if I didn’t call in three days ago, then I probably would have been here,” Queener said.

Fenton residents are hoping the establishments are able to make a comeback.

“It was a unique thing that we had in our town, it brought people here, it was an attraction, so it’s really sad. I hope they can rebuild it,” Kartsounes said.