ROCKFORD, Mich. -- Fire severely damaged The Corner Bar on N Main Street in Rockford early Monday.
The fire is believed to have started toward the back of the building, but it was unclear whether it started inside or outside the building, said Rockford Public Safety Chief Dave Jones.
While the fire was well underway when crews arrived just before 5:00 a.m., they quickly knocked the fire down. But a gas meter caught fire, and crews spend several hours dealing with that. At one point, the meter exploded. The shutoff for the gas supply was not found until shortly before 9 a.m.
There were fire personnel in the basement of the building who had to be evacuated when the gas meter exploded.
At about 10:30 a.m. the fire rekindled and threatened the buildings nearby.
The west wall of the historic building appeared to be buckling. Jones theorized the wall may eventually need to be taken down.
Authorities are confident no one was in the building at the time.
Opened in the 1930s, The Corner Bar is in the oldest brick building in Rockford and is home to the Hot Dog Wall of Fame that displayed the names of people who took on the bar's hot dog eating challenge.
The owners of the bar posted on Facebook their gratitude to fire crews and the community. "Let us reassure you that the Corner Bar will continue our fine history of serving the Rockford community just as soon as we get things sorted," they said.
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