Charlevoix City Council, Public Raise Questions Over Downtown Fires

Two major fires in downtown Charlevoix happened in less than two months.

Now, there are some questions for the fire department that handled them.

During a meeting Tuesday night, the city council and the public asked the Charlevoix Fire Department about how they responded to the downtown fires.

The first fire happened in November at Johan’s Bakery, destroying the neighboring business and damaging several more. 

On Christmas Eve, the department was called to Cherry Republic just down the street.

The Fire Marshal says the damage was too severe at the Johan’s fire to determine a cause.

He’s still actively investigating what happened at Cherry Republic.

9 & 10’s Blayke Roznowski and photojournalist Noah Jurik have more details on the questions raised and how the Charlevoix Fire Department is responding.

"There was a lot of questions raised in the community about how the fire was handled," Charlevoix Fire Department Chief Gerard Doan 

Those questions were all brought to the table at Tuesday night’s city council meeting in Charlevoix.

Chief Gerard Doan was asked to give a presentation about the downtown fires.

"It was a pretty big fire and then there was some questions that each of the council members wanted to ask, some of the public wanted to ask the chief about how the fire, how we reacted to the fire," Mayor Luther Kurtz said.

There were some questions over how quickly the department responded, which they assured for both fires was less than 10 minutes.

Also, questions on why the department didn’t use their own aerial truck at the Cherry Republic fire.

"We had an aerial truck front and rear, so I didn’t see the need to go get ours at that point," Chief Doan said. "We started to the fight the fire." 

Those trucks came from East Jordan and Boyne City, which is a common practice with volunteer fire departments to help each other on major incidents.

"We’re doing the best job we can and we have great resources around us that we’re not afraid to call and use," Chief Doan said.

Mayor Luther Kurtz said the meeting was simply a way to consider improvements not only in safety, but also the downtown as a whole.

"I’ve heard private business and building owners talking about wanting to make their building safer regarding fire," Kurtz said. "A lot of people rallying around this event to make Charlevoix better for visitors and locals."