Toaster fire damages downtown building

Daily Mining Gazette With smoke coming out the door in the rear of the Mueller House building in downtown Houghton on Monday afternoon, a firefighter with a hose enters.

HOUGHTON — No injuries were reported in a Monday afternoon blaze that started in an upstairs apartment of the Sew Irresistible building on Shelden Avenue in Houghton.

Louis Vencato, owner of the building, said the fire was the result of a faulty toaster left unattended. He said when he arrived at the scene the fire was burning aggressively.

The fire began in a kitchen, said Houghton Fire Chief Mark Reynolds.

“We put it out and actually contained it to that one room the fire was in,” he said. “Right now, everybody’s out.”

Early Monday afternoon traffic on Shelden was closed between Huron and Quincy streets and rerouted to East Lake Shore Drive.

Daily Mining Gazette Firefighters and other officials meet at the rear entry of the Mueller House building in Houghton.

Reynolds said tenants would not be able to stay in the building until after a fire inspection. He did not have a timetable for the inspection.

The Houghton Police were able to evacuate apartment tenants with no injuries, said Alisha Subedi Acharya. She noticed smoke next to her apartment on the top floor around 1:50 p.m.

She called her husband, who informed police. She then went to other apartments to notify tenants.

“Everyone got down,” she said. “I took my baby down, and she’s safe.”

Years ago, the building housed Bruno’s Bar, which then became the Longshot Saloon. In the early 1970s, it was operated briefly as Funky’s Karma Cafe. Currently, it houses Sew Irresistible, a sewing supply and craft store.

The Houghton City Fire Department was assisted on the scene by the Houghton City Police, Hancock City Police, Lake Linden Police, Houghton County Sheriff’s Office and Mercy EMS.