Fire ruled accidental; Jack’s to reopen next door

by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor

A Michigan State Police fire investigator determined the cause of the former Fred Fisch Brewery building fire on North Third Street as accidental.

The fire forced Jack’s Barbershop to re-locate and displaced several apartment residents, including co-building owner Scott Bannasch. There were no other injuries.

Rogers City fire chief Mike Kroll said the insurance investigator suggested MSP fire investigator get involved, and after conferring with Rogers City police chief Matt Quaine, one was contacted and responded last Wednesday.

The building had five apartments and two commercial spaces, including the barbershop, which is re-locating in a corner of the Great Lakes Realty building, which also houses chiropractor Dr. Russell Fairbanks.

The Bannasch families had considered opening the other commercial space, previously occupied by Elite Salon. They had purchased three tanning beds in an auction at the former Rogers City Video, but the equipment was lost in the fire.

Brian Bannasch said Curtis Excavating of Rogers City will demolish what is still standing and remove all the debris. That was supposed to start by week’s end, barring any delays. Brian said there are no plans at this time to rebuild since the Myers are re-locating and there other apartments available to rent in Rogers City.

Andy Myers, who had taken over the family business from his father Jack, is working to re-open.

“The response has been very humbling,” said Andy. “It would be hard to thank everybody who stepped forward.”

“We had multiple people in town offer space,” said Andy, who wanted the business to re-located along Third Street. “Because of state protocol, it’s not feasible to move into areas that were offered to us. Dave Viegelahn and Russ Fairbanks have been kind of enough to offer us the space here. For location, for meeting our needs and our clients needs, it’s really a perfect fit.”

Andy has set an aggressive timetable of March 1 to re-open.

He’s also trying to secure a new license with the Department of Labor and Regulatory Affairs, a process that can take up to 10 weeks to process.

State Rep. Peter Pettalia has been contacted about the situation to see if there is a way to speed up the process and secure a temporary license.

“I don’t have the luxury of receiving unemployment,” said Andy.

Jack thanked their customers for being patient during this time of transition.

(A complete version of this story is in the Jan. 31, 2013 edition of the Advance)