Harbor Springs Businesses React to Boyne Highlands Fire Community Impact

"It’s not going to help at all," Turkey’s Cafe and Pizzeria owner Jeff Graham said.

Two days after a fire destroyed nearly half of Boyne Highlands Resort’s Main Lodge Hotel and the community is left wondering what’s next.

The fire started around 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

About 70 rooms at the Main Lodge Hotel in Harbor Springs are damaged from what investigators are calling a suspicious fire.

They still don’t have cause.

In a release Tuesday, Boyne Highlands says they’re actively investigating claims that the alarms did not sound.

They say the system was updated in 2006.

Twelve people were hurt.

One is still in critical condition for smoke inhalation.

9 & 10’s Blayke Roznowski and photojournalist Noah Jurik have continuing coverage on how the fire’s affecting other local businesses.

Businesses in Emmet County near the ski hills say they rely on skiers and snowboarders that come here for the holidays.

They say the fire at Boyne Highlands could not have come at a worse time.

"We have about 10 days over the holidays to really make it and it’s a big deal up here," The Outfitter co-owner Josh Baker said.

Local businesses rely on the busy Christmas season at Boyne Highlands to bring people up to the area

The co-owner of The Outfitter in Harbor Springs says they’re wondering what the impact will be.

"This area needs both ski areas running and it needs them running efficiently and it needs not only for employment, but it needs the people coming up for the extra peripheral experiences: shopping, eating, everything," Baker said. 

The owner of Turkey’s Cafe and Pizzeria says they’re hoping for the best, but know that they could see less foot traffic in the coming weeks.

"I’m sure well take a little bit of a hit on the deal," Graham said. "It’s not a good thing, so I hope it’s okay."

"It’s not even that they’ll decide to not come up, but that they wont be able to come up," Baker said. "That’s where I’m sure Boyne is working like crazy to keep people coming up here." 

Especially after a slow start to last year’s ski season, businesses are hoping the big snow fall will still bring people in, despite the fire.

"It’s not going to help at all," Graham said, "but I think people will still come up."