KEWEEANAW BAY, Mich. (WZMQ) – A fire in Keweenaw Bay that started around 1:30 a.m. Friday shut down US-41 for several hours while the emergency crew was on the scene. Michigan State Police took the call, according to the Baraga Sherriff. The popular restaurant “Carla’s” caught fire and shut down the road for about four hours early Friday morning, according to a Michigan State Police trooper.
The trooper confirmed no one was injured, and the site was promptly taped off. He said police are waiting on fire marshals to arrive and assess the situation.
The fire is still under investigation, according to the trooper.
“I’d just like to thank them for their efforts, and we’ve been here 43 years. We came here with a dream, and inch by inch, thought by thought, customer by the customer we built the business, and now it’s all gone,” said co-owner Doug Engle.
The lakeshore restaurant has been around since 1979 and was beloved by many local residents. It was world famous for its fresh-caught local fish and well-known for its homemade pies by Carla herself.
Reservation information for the hotel was burned and guests who had planned to stay the night were in for a surprise.
“Came around the bend, and we were going to check in, maybe early check-in, and saw that the building was burned down”, said Michigan Tech parent, Greg Howell.
Carla and Doug, although devastated and shocked by the fire and all the memories they lost along with it, are hopeful about a rebuild.
Carla’s outlook, in spite of the wreckage, still glowed with positivity. Carla pointed out that her sign, which reads, “The fish you ear here today, last night slept in Keweenaw Bay,” fell off the day before, saving it from the ruin. This sign, as well as the hand carvings in both wooden doors, stand out in her mind as positive signs that the restaurant will stand once more.
Carla, in her Lion’s Football pride, shared a story about the “Mangy Lion” – a blue statue of a lion that still stands in front of the burn. She says she wanted to change the name of the lion to the “Blue Lion”, in celebration of our Michigan Detroit Lions, but the locals insisted that it is still called the “Mangy Lion”. Carla says that she got locals to agree that when the Detroit Lions win a Superbowl, she gets to change the name to the “Blue Lion” to complete her wish.
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