Story and photos by Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.
BRANCH — John and Michelle Hare watched helplessly as their business burned to the ground early Thursday morning. Fire departments from Lake and Mason counties fought the fire, but they were unable to save the Oasis Bar, located on the county line at the corner of U.S. 10 and Tyndall Road.
The Oasis, located on the Lake County side of unincorporated village of Branch — in Sweetwater Township — was popular with residents of that area along with outdoor enthusiast such as fishermen, hunters and snowmobilers.
The Hares have owned the bar for 16 years. They were asleep in their mobile home, located behind the business, when they were awoken by a Lake County Sheriff’s deputy. Carr and Lake Township fire departments were dispatched around 1 a.m. Branch Township was dispatched shortly afterwards. Eventually, Custer Fire Department was called to bring a water tanker and the Mason County Rural Fire Authority’s air trailer.
A breeze from the west didn’t help and appeared to have caused the fire to spread.
Michelle said the bar/restaurant closed at 11 p.m. She didn’t know what could have started the fire.