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Frank A. Douglass Insurance Agency

Three downtown buildings lost to fire in Calumet

At roughly 10:30 Friday night, a fire started at 108 Fifth Street in Calumet, the former site of the Evergreen Inn and Parkside Restaurants. The blaze quickly spread to two neighboring buildings engulfing everything to the Portland Street intersection.

12 fire departments responded, from Ahmeek down to Houghton. Houghton County Sheriff’s Department and UPPCO utility crews were also on scene.

Houghton Ladder No. 4 on scene providing support

The fire was not fully contained until after 7:00 AM Saturday. Caterpillar heavy equipment began tearing down what remained of the structure and ladders were kept employed to tamp down any flare ups.

Calumet Fire Department Chief Jeff Kalcich says that three firefighters suffered minor injuries. One could be seen with a bandage wrapping around his chin and then covering a majority of his head and brow. The buildings affected were up to three stories tall and featured several apartments, especially on the upper levels. Houghton County Sheriff’s Office estimates 20 to 30 people have been displaced. Kalcich says all are safe.

Everybody’s been accounted for.
A partially burned Barbie mermaid could be seen on Fifth Street Saturday morning. A reminder that families, including young children, lived in the buildings lost.

Because the structure where the fire originated is vacant, Kalcich says suspicious activity has to be the first consideration.

I’m leaning towards arson because it was an unoccupied building.

An investigation is ongoing as to the possibility of foul play.

The basements of the places affected had over three feet of standing water in them before crews began to wind down their operation, speaking to how much effort went into fighting the inferno.

Eventually the facades were torn down, falling out onto Fifth Street.
Keweenaw Coffee Works is located across the street. They placed breakfast sandwiches and their famous cup of joe out for the firefighters.

Copper World has given Keweenaw Report permission to link to the video they took from Friday night.

Both aerial photos courtesy of Trey Simpson.

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