WELLSTON — It was nearly 3 p.m. Saturday and fire crews were still putting out hot spots of the fire that destroyed a northern Michigan landmark — the Dublin General Store.

Flames even could be seen flaring up on one of the lone walls still standing in an area that would have been the back of the structure a mere 24 hours earlier. The cause of the fire was still undetermined but it was believed the fire's origin was the west end of the structure where the hardware store was located, according to Norman Township Fire Chief Gary Melzer.

"It was 2:59 a.m. (Saturday) was when we were toned out. The first engine arrived at 3:06 a.m. and the west end of the building was involved," Melzer said. "There was no option of entering the building so we had to fire the fire externally."

The fire was finally considered "under control" sometime between 8:30-9 a.m., according to Melzer. He also said the state fire marshal was called in to do the investigation and a preliminary investigation had been completed. That said, the cause of the fire was undetermined and the blaze was still under investigation, he said.

He 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.

Considering the Dublin General Store has more than 80 years of history, it wasn't too surprising the fire was the talk of the area this Labor Day weekend. For that reason, it also was surprising many flocked to the store site to pay their last respects as if they were saying goodbye to an old friend.

The Dublin General Store was established in 1935 and included full grocery and hardware stores, according to its website. While it was those things, it grew in fame for its meats and in particular it jerky, which the Dublin General Store made more than 50 varieties of home-cured jerky.

Via the store's Facebook page, a statement read, "We are so sad to inform all of our loyal, loving customers, that early this morning our store caught fire. We are all currently at a loss for words. We apologize to all of our long-distance customers who may have been traveling to us for the big holiday weekend. We will share more details when available." 

Staff Writer/Reporter

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