03 April 2009

John Deere: Mt. Pleasant Dealership Destroyed By Fire

As Posted at the Saginaw News

MOUNT PLEASANT -- Fire investigators were looking for the cause and origin of a blaze that swept through a Mount Pleasant John Deere dealership Sunday.

The fire destroyed the 8,000-square-foot showroom and repair shop at Bader and Sons, 1300 East Pickard.

"The first crews on scene encountered heavy flames on a good portion of the building," said Mount Pleasant Fire Officer Rich Clark.

Firefighters got the call just before 6 a.m., Clark said.

He said investigators and owners were still tallying the value of the loss.

"There was a fair amount of loss of inventory," he said. "They were not only a sales place but also a repair shop and they had equipment in both areas.

"They had several big commercial mowers and other commercial lawn care equipment, a multitude of pieces of equipment and other John Deere stuff."

Firefighters were able to move some implements that were outside the building, Clark said.

Paul Bader owns the building plus dealerships in St. Louis, Grand Ledge, Portland, Tecumseh and Linwood.

A Web site describes the Mount Pleasant store as central Michigan's largest John Deer dealership offering parts, service and sales of new and used farm and lawn and garden equipment and John Deere toys.

Crews from Shepherd Tri-Township and Deerfield fire departments assisted in the two-hour battle, Clark said.


Also, from the Flint News:

By the time fire crews arrived, the damage was done.

"They know there's nothing they can do to save the building, so the objective is to protect the neighboring buildings," explained Mount Pleasant Fire Chief Greg Walterhouse.

"Lucky to come back to work today," said Jon Brown, who works next door.

Brown feels lucky the building just to the west where he works, Redbird Pet Supplies, was not damaged. Fire crews put water on that building to prevent the fire from spreading.

"The winds were blowing and they could have easily shifted to the roof and caught our building on fire," he said.

Bader and Sons owner Paul Bader estimated the loss of the building and equipment could reach $1 million. He plans to open another Mount Pleasant location, but is not sure if he will rebuild.

His wasn't the only business affected.

The fire also put an insurance company in the unusual position of dealing with its own disaster. "I never thought I would be in a this position like this, and here I am and it's nightmarish," Brandt said.

Brandt has already relocated his insurance office to Broomfield Road in Mount Pleasant. "This is why I stress the importance of proper insurance coverage."

The investigation into what caused the fire continues.

"At this point we have no idea whatsoever, due, in part, to the large destruction of the building," Walterhouse said.

With the amount of damage it's possible investigators will never come up with a cause or origin.

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