Firefighters continue to fight Oasis fire; community remembers

March 21, 2013

oasis 7Story and photos by Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

BRANCH, Sweetwater Twp., Lake Co. — Carr Community Fire Chief Bruce Burke sat in a fire truck late this morning, eating a pastry and trying to get warmed up. He was monitoring the still-smoldering Oasis Bar. The bar, located at the Mason-Lake counties line on U.S. 10, was destroyed early this morning. Burke said the fire was contained mostly to the basement and firefighters could not get to it due to the floor collapsing. So, he was waiting. He sent his firefighters home to get some rest, they had been at the fire since just before 1 a.m. They were expected to come back out around noon to start flooding the basement with water.

The fire continued to smolder this morning.

The fire continued to smolder this morning.

Burke said he was pretty sure the fire started in a wood stove that was in the basement. Burke said owners Michelle and John Hare told him the stove hadn’t been used since 8 p.m. Wednesday night.

“When we got here, we tried to go inside the side door,” Burke said. “Firefighters got a little ways in but the heat was just too much, so they pulled out. Shortly after that the fire went through the roof. We did everything we could do. Everybody worked really hard and really well together.”

Initially Carr Community Fire Department and Lake County’s Lake Township Fire Department were called. Burke said he then called Branch Township Fire Department as they left the fire station. He guessed about 35 firefighters and other personnel were on the scene to assist.

He said in his 46 years on the fire department, this was probably the second time Carr had a commercial fire in its district. The other was when Whiskey Creek’s main building burned in the early ’80s.

Burke said the loss of the Oasis will be hard for the community. “This place was a landmark,” he said. “I can’t even remember how long I’ve been coming here.”

The gumball machine was salvaged.

The gumball machine was salvaged.

“My grandma used to work there,” Raquel Folland-Peters said on Facebook this morning. “We would go there after morel hunting and have some good food.”

“We used to have our real estate office next door,” said Renee Bailey. “We ate there all the time when we lived in Branch. We used to have the ribs on Saturday night. Good times.”

“Twelve years ago I met my husband for the first time there,” said Jessica LaPointe. “Our wedding party went there for a celebratory drink after the wedding seven years ago.”

“Teddy Beebe was a waitress there for years,” said Shannon Comstock. “She would always tell me she would save all her tip money for Christmas.”

Chief Burke sprays water in a window

Chief Burke sprays water in a window

 

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