A friend notified me of a fire at our favorite local restaurant, the Chicago Water Grill in Jonesville, Michigan. I ran downtown hoping that it was not true. My mind asked, how could there be a fire in a building that is not open on Sunday? I rounded the corner astounded to find the finest restaurant with the nicest staff and the tastiest menu engulfed in flames and smoke. As I watched, the fire moved next door to May’s Furniture Store. The good news was that it appeared that the fire was confined to the attic area of the two businesses and because neither business was open, there were no injuries.
Many fire departments were on the scene. I saw vehicles from Jonesville, Hillsdale, Litchfield, Coldwater, Reading, Allen, Moscow, Montgomery, North Adams, and Somerset. Firefighters from these municipalities were working together to keep the fire from destroying the entire downtown.
Hundreds of people gathered across the street to watch the firefighters in action. Ground crews and ladder workers were keeping the fire from spreading. The big extension ladders from Hillsdale and Litchfield were put to good use, one in the front of the building and one in the back.
When an excavating vehicle was brought on the scene, it was evident that some of the building would have to be knocked down to control the spread of fire. The long armed wrecking machine brought down the back side of both businesses.
By 10 p.m. most of the firefighters had done their jobs and were heading home. I was told that some of them would have to pull an “all nighter” to be certain that a smoldering fire would not start up again. I am sure that downtown will have a totally different look and feel when I get up in the morning. My hope is that both businesses were insured and that both will be rebuilt in the near future. In the short term, both will be missed. In the long term, I hope their legacy will lead to a quick reconstruction.
The Chicago Water Grill has always been a great business partner to me at the Munro House Bed and Breakfast in Jonesville, Michigan. I hope the future brings a rekindling of this relationship.
Mike Venturini – Innkeeper
Despite this disaster, “Life is good in Jonesville”