AMBER TWP. — Firefighters from Pere Marquette and Ludington fire departments were dispatched to Applebee’s restaurant on West U.S. 10-31 just after 4 a.m. for a report of heavy smoke coming from the building. Ludington Fire Chief Jerry Funk was first on scene and confirmed the fire, which appears to have started in the southeast side of the restaurant’s kitchen.
Ariel trucks from both departments were set up but flames continued to spread throughout the building. Scottville Fire Department and Life EMS ambulance were also called in. Hamlin Twp. Fire Dept. was later called to relieve the other departments.
Temperatures hovering just above zero have caused challenges for the firefighters. PM’s ladder truck initially had a frozen valve while ice formed over the back parking lot, making conditions even more dangerous.
Over 50 people work at the restaurant, according to manager Matt Zwiegle. He said he was contacting the restaurant’s owners to find out the next step for the business.
Will update as more information is available.