Fire at Hunan House destroys Mission Mall
A grease fire from the Hunan House Chinese restaurant is believed to have caused a blaze Tuesday afternoon at Mission Mall in Mount Pleasant.
Firefighters were called the strip mall at 4:37 p.m., said fire chief Greg Walterhouse. The building, owned by Labelle Management, houses Hunan House, Central Barbership, Advance employment and MetroPCS.
While Walterhouse declined to speculate on a source or cause, employees at neighboring businesses said the fire started from the restaurant.
Ali I. Bazzi, manager at MetroPCS, said he was activating a customer’s phone when he saw the roof of Hunan House catch fire.
“I closed (the store) up real quick, walked outside and it was small,” Bazzi said. “The roof was on fire, but I figured it was reported and not a big deal. I walk back outside, and this thing spread like crazy.”
By 5 p.m., smoke billowed northeast of the building and into the parking lots of nearby Kmart. By 5:30 p.m., smoke spread toward the Central Barbershop and later destroyed adjacent Advance employment and MetroPCS.
Bert Challender and Jon Dancer, both 28, of Alma were giving hair cuts when the fire broke out. Each had a client in their chair, with four others waiting.
“We had a shop full of people,” Challender said. “Multiple people smelled smoke. We looked out back and top of the vent for the grease (at Hunan House) was flaming.”
Walterhouse said a cause may not be determined for another day or two. He did not know how many people were inside the restaurant, or adjacent businesses, at the time of the fire.
Sergeant Sarah Cutherbertson of the Mount Pleasant Police Department, who was on scene, described the building as a “total loss.”
Walterhouse said he had not been inside to estimate the value of the damage.”
“That’s up to the insurance company,” he said. “That’s a dollars and cents kind of thing.”
Labelle Management did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
Fire fighters from the Shepherd Tri-Township and Saginaw Chippewa Tribal fire departments assisted.
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