Local hangout for 35 years is leveled by fireThe fire destroyed more than just a business. It leveled a local hang-out. For 35-years, Dave Schmitz and his wife Carole owned this downtown bar.
Wheaton, Minn. (WDAY TV) - Main Street in Wheaton, Minnesota is no longer the same after a devastating fire early this morning. It destroyed at least two buildings and left another badly damaged. This is home video that taken at the scene around 6 this morning. The call came in just after 5 this morning.
Fire Crews say it started in the "D" Bar and Grill. The fire quickly spread to nearby buildings, badly damaging the Broadway office building and destroying the Grosland Jewelry building. No one was injured in the fire and at least 60 fire fighters were on the scene.
The fire was so hot that it melted the siding off of buildings across the street. The price tag on the damage is still unknown.
“It was a common place for a lot of people to gather and have coffee, and it's a business that's going to be missed in this town.”
The fire destroyed more than just a business. It leveled a local hang-out.
Dave Schmitz: "You know Carole and I, half of our life was in here."
For 35-years, Dave Schmitz and his wife Carole owned this downtown bar.
Dave Schmitz: "I just kind of felt that it was an institution that would last a long time."
The Schmitz owned the bar until selling it in 1996. They say when you own a bar in the center of a small town like Wheaton; people that come through your doors become family.
Carole Schmitz "I've raised hundreds of kids. We made rules and regulations, but now after a few years, the only ones that remember my birthday are my own two kids."
Realizing youth of Wheaton needed a safe place to hang out; Dave and his wife added an arcade to the old beer joint after they bought it in 1965 where they were able to make plenty of good memories.
Dave Schmitz: "And that was one of the best moves we've ever made. We were around these kids, they were full of life."
For Dave and Carole Schmitz, the memories in this building are almost too many to count.
Dave Schmitz: "When you work 31-years and you work 12-18 hours a day in that place, it becomes part of your life."
Carole Schmitz: "I started crying right away, thinking that this can't be, that our old bar and arcade is on fire."
The hundreds and even thousands that have walked through doors that now lay as a charred pile a wood; the buildings are gone, but the memories will always remain. The current owner, Dawn Julson, would not go on camera today. Authorities are still investigating the cause of that fire.