People Heartbroken After Dublin General Store in Manistee Co. Destroyed in Fire

“I just feel really bad for the employees because now they’re out of a job.”

A historic business in Manistee County since 1935 burnt to rubble.

The Norman Township Fire Department says the Dublin General Store in Wellston caught fire early Saturday morning. Nine departments worked together to battle the flames starting around 3 a.m.

The assistant fire chief tells us it was an explosive fire because the store sells ammunition. It took two hours to get under control.

While the fire destroyed most of the store, crews were able to save a storage area in the back.

“About a mile south of us we had four pumps pumping water out of the lake to keep the trucks filled and we went through hundreds of thousands of gallons of water. I think the biggest loss we suffered here today is the employees that count on this store for a paycheck,” says assistant fire chief for Norman Township, Daniel Funk.

At this time crews do not know what caused the fire, but the sheriff’s office tells us it is checking surveillance video for any clues.

Obviously this has been a very emotional time for many people in Wellston and even surrounding communities. This fire brought hundreds of people out to see the damage with their own eyes.

“We always come here to get their jerky, was their famous thing that we would get,” Rita Hortsman said.

People living in Northern Michigan and people vacationing here agree: the Dublin General Store is a special stop.

“We’ve been coming here, just our immediate family, since ’72,” Hortsman said.

Hortsman has been visiting this store for decades.

“They had nuts and bolts and ammunition and they make their own bread and bakery, so we would come here for that,” she said.

She’s heartbroken now, seeing a place near and dear to her family burned to the ground.

“I forwarded the picture to my daughter and she said ‘oh no it’s like losing a family friend,’ it made her heart sad. It does, we’ve been coming here for so long,” she said.

She’s certainly not the only one with personal ties to Dublin. “It was a very nice atmosphere to come to,” Tom Monroe said.

Tom Monroe has been coming since he was 10. He says the family that runs it makes it special.

“You went in there to try and fix something for your cabin, they would make sure you had the right tools, lend ’em to you,” he said.

We talked to the owner, who did not want to go one camera, but says an insurance agent was on scene today and they plan to rebuild as soon as possible.

“Even people vacationing, they know about it, so it’s just going to have a huge impact on the community and I think that’s the reason the owner wants to rebuild it,” Jim Wilson, who lives in Hudsonville said.

And a lot of people anxiously await the day the Dublin General Store opens its doors again.

“Can’t wait ’til they open, but it’s going to be a big change for a while,” Monroe said.