Devastation in the town of Luther Tuesday night as a fire destroyed two businesses and damaged a third.
The Luther Fire Department was dispatched to a structure fire at the Luther Grocery Store around 9:11 p.m. Tuesday. Also involved in the blaze was the Luther Hardware Store.
Crews battled the fire throughout the night and early morning hours. Both the grocery store and hardware store are a total loss.
Chief Donald Nixon from Luther Fire Department says they don’t see any damage to the post office next door other than smoke damage to Luther Lodge which is on the second level.
Chief Nixon says he does not know what caused the fire at this time, but it appears that the fire started at the grocery store before spreading to the hardware store. The Fire Marshall will be out Wednesday to do a full investigation.
The owner of the Luther Grocery Store was at a loss for words Wednesday.
“I live 4-5 blocks from here. I walked home,” Scott Lucas said. “I was talking with my wife, and the lady from down the street that lives at the end of the block called and said the store’s on fire.”
Lucas said he rushed down to the store.
“Smoke was just billowing out of all the vents and cracks and everything,” he said. “It was just insane.”
At first, he thought it was a fire that could be put out quickly.
“My first reaction was well, they’re going to go in there, they’re going to put it out, everything’s going to be fine, we’re going to clean up,” Lucas said.
But the fire was too hot for firefighters to go in the building.
“Once it got up into the roof, it was over,” he said.
Annie Marciniak worked at the Luther Grocery Store for about two years.
When she first heard about the fire, she said she couldn’t believe it.
“It was like numb. I was like numb,” Marciniak said. “I was just. This just can’t be. This-this just can’t be.”
Marciniak spoke highly of her fellow employees and the owner.
“Of all the places I’ve ever worked my 75 years, [Scott’s] probably the kindest, most giving, to his customers to the community, to anybody in need,” she said. “The customers that could come in, sometimes we just chit chatted, sometimes they bought stuff, but I’m going to miss them all.”
Even though the community was devastated, their spirits are still high.
“Luther kind of gets a bad rap sometimes,” said Marciniak. “But as far as it being a community, coming together for each other, with each other, I think we stand united.”
Units from the Cadillac Fire Department, Evart Fire Department, Hersey Fire Department, Leroy Fire Department, Lincoln Township Fire Department, Pleasant Plains Township Fire Department, Reed City Fire Department, Tustin Fire Department and Webber Township Fire Department all assisted the Luther Fire Department.
A group of community members are looking to put together a fundraiser to help rebuild the grocery store.
Anyone interested in donating, or has an idea for a fundraiser, can call the North Bar in Luther at 231-797-5318.