Fire destroys businesses in Sturgeon Bay

STURGEON BAY – An overnight fire in Sturgeon Bay quickly spread through the Harbor Place Shoppes on the city’s west side.

Four businesses were destroyed, and for some, recovery may be easier said than done.

M.W. “Doc” Ranly says 40 hand-made ships, and walls covered with art work are gone from his maritime gallery.

“Things were just getting better and better, each year. Now, it’s all over now,” said M.W. “Doc” Ranly, Ranly Maritime Gallery Owner.

Ranly estimates $50,000 damage to the Maritime Gallery.

“I don’t have a new place to go, and unfortunately, I didn’t have insurance.

At the other end of the building, Cathy Gossen attends the Faith Alive Fellowship Church.

“It’s not recognizable. It’s going to take a lot of vacuuming to get that cleaned up,” said Cathy Gossen, Faith Alive Fellowship World Outreach Center.

The Sturgeon Bay Fire Chief says the fire broke out behind Ranly’s gallery just before midnight. Within 15 minutes, two walls collapsed, and firefighters backed off.

As with any old building, there’s multiple roofs, multiple ceilings, just makes things difficult to get at,” said Tim Herlache, Sturgeon Bay Fire Chief.

Herlache says The Door Tran information service, The Steel Bridge Café, the church and art gallery are a total losses.

Ranly says the timing of the fire couldn’t have been worse. He says this weekend is his busiest time of the year for his gallery.

“The business picks up on the 4th of July weekend, and then goes through October,” said Ranly.

Herlache says the State Fire Marshal has been called in, but at this point there is nothing suspicious.

Conducting interviews, talking to people that called it in. The hotel is across the street from us, and some of the people have had videos, We’re reviewing all that,” said Herlache.

As investigators process the scene, Gossen says she and her church will recover.

“Lives are not replaceable. Nobody got hurt, nobody got injured. These are just contents, they’re replaceable, so that’s the good news in it all,” said Gossen.

The investigation is ongoing. The fire chief says due to the extend of the damage, an exact cause of the fire may never be found. Damage is estimated at $650,000.

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