By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.
PENTWATER — Fire destroyed a downtown Pentwater restaurant Monday night. Pentwater Fire Department was initially called to a van fire at Dockside Restaurant and Pizza, 401 S. Hancock Street about 11:30 p.m.
Assistant Fire Chief Paul Smith said fire ignited a nearby natural gas line, which caused the fire to spread to the building.
The business is owned by Jeff and Angie Darrow. Angie’s son, Cody Love, said Angie was the only person in the building when the fire started. She was downstairs doing paperwork when she smelled smoke, he said. She was able to get out of the building safely.
Hart and Shelby fire departments were dispatched along with Riverton Township and Pere Marquette Township fire departments from Mason County. Pere Marquette Township Fire Department’s ariel truck was used to fight the fire from above.
Smith said one of his main concerns was stopping the fire from spreading to the attached condominiums located directly to the west. “There is an elevator shaft in that building which I believe helped the fire from spreading,” Smith said. “There was only one condo resident home at the time of the fire and we were able to evacuate her safely.”
Another concern was water supply, Smith said. The 1,200 gallon per minute ariel truck, along with the other fire trucks quickly drained the village’s water tower. Firefighters drafted water from Pentwater Lake as an alternative.
Pentwater Police Department also responded to the scene.