MANISTEE — The fire that destroyed the Dublin General Store might have been intentionally set, according to a press release by the Manistee County Sheriff’s Office.
In a press release from the office of Manistee County Sheriff John O’Hagan it said after careful review of surveillance video and from the preliminary investigation it was determined there was evidence to suggest the fire was not an accident. The press release also said the fire investigator was on the scene Saturday to begin the initial investigation and he returned Monday with a dog that specializes in locating accelerants to investigate the site further. Police said they are awaiting the lab work regarding the investigation.
Due to the complexity of the incident and investigation, details are limited and no other information is being released at this time.
Fire crews were dispatched at 2:59 a.m. Saturday and the fire engine arrived on scene at 3:06 a.m., according to comments made Saturday by Norman Township Fire Chief Gary Melzer. He also said since fire crews were unable to enter the building, it was difficult to fight the fire until they could start pulling down walls using an excavator, which allowed them to get water inside the structure. In total, nine different departments, including South Branch Township in Wexford County, responded to the fire.
Manistee Township also assisted and used its aerial device which helped to save the storage building located behind the general store itself, Melzer said. An estimated 300,000 gallons were used to fight the fire and Melzer said the owners had insurance.
The cause of the fire was undetermined Saturday but it was believed the fire’s origin was the west end of the structure where the hardware store was located, according to Melzer.
Anyone with information regarding the fire is asked to call Manistee County Central Dispatch at (231) 723-6241.