Fire of undetermined origin destroyed the Harbor Place Shoppes complex at 49 North Madison Avenue on Sturgeon Bay’s west side early this morning. Fire Chief Tim Herlache told WDOR News his department was paged out shortly before midnight…[audio:http://wdor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/N919.mp3|titles=Fire Chief Tim Herlache]
Chief Herlache says fire crews got about three-quarters of the way into the building before it became obvious that the situation had become more dangerous because of flames overhead. He then ordered firefighters to exit the building. Herlache was asked where it appears the fire originated…[audio:http://wdor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/N920.mp3|titles=Fire Chief Tim Herlache]
Chief Herlache says, because of prevailing winds, the flames were actually heading in the direction of the Michigan Street Bridge, so the danger of fire spreading to a nearby building, such as the Hol’n One gas station, did not materialize. He says the building was empty at the time of the fire & no injuries were reported. The blaze was under control after about three & a half hours, but two fire trucks remained at the scene to insure there were no flareups. The Michigan Street bridge was closed to traffic until after 7AM & Sturgeon Bay Police provided traffic control.
The owner of the Harbor Place Shoppes building, Thomas “Cap” Wulf was on the scene during the fire fighting operation early Tuesday. For years, he has worked on a number of ideas that could bring about further development of the property. Wulf said it was too early to tell what the next course of action would be. He noted that, like the others involved, he would be talking with his insurance company. The tenants of the building included Door-Tran, the Steel Bridge Cafe, the Ranly Maritime Gallery, & the Faith Alive Fellowship Church.
Jason Bieri, Electrical Supervisor at Sturgeon Bay Utilities, reports that there was a 15-minute disruption in electrical service to businesses on the west side downtown & Green Bay Road in Sturgeon Bay due to the fire at the Harbor Place Shoppes Tuesday morning. Bieri says utility crews cut the power for about 15 minutes around 1AM did some looping in the electrical system while the firefighting operation was underway. He says power was restored to the other surrounding businesses by 4AM Tuesday.
The offices of Door-Tran, Door County’s transportation service agency, were damaged in the fire. Mobility Manager Pam Busch says those seeking to use Door-Tran’s services should call 1(920)-559-9915. A number of temporary arrangements are being put in place. Door-Tran is currently located at the Sunshine House. During the firefighting operation, the roof came down on the Door-Tran offices and the area is off-limits for the time being.