Massive fire destroys bowling alley


OGEMAW COUNTY -- A massive fire broke out early Wednesday morning at a local Ogemaw County business.

Smoke started pouring out of Mem & Pop's Driftwood bowling alley, 1958 Greenwood Rd. in Prescott, near Skidway Lake, at 12:40 a.m., according to Mills Township Fire Chief Brian Gilbert.

Gilbert said 10 neighboring fire departments reported to the scene to fight the fire, but the building was completely destroyed.

The business was not open at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Do you have photos of the fire? Send them to and we might use them in next week's paper.



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I just wonder with all of the counties assets deployed at this fire, who is protecting the property these assets are paid to protect? Good thing a large fire did not break out in West Branch or Rose City when all of their assets were deployed in Skidway fighting a lost cause.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 | Report this

what sad day it like lossig a kid it was a grate place hope we can all fill the

that know the owner was the best she cared for everyone hope they

we bring it back i had some goodtimes there

god bless you

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 | Report this

Evidently, you have no idea how mutual aid agrrements between fire departments work. Tell those hundred and some VOLUNTEER firefighters they were fighting a "lost cause" and I am sure they will appreciate it

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 | Report this


Wednesday, October 5, 2011 | Report this

Not to mention that the fire departments are all there to keep such a massive fire from spreading to surrounding homes and businesses! This is in the middle of town, next door to Family Dollar, the video store, and across the street from Ken's convenience store and car wash, not to mention several homes. I'm sure all those families and business owners don't consider the response a 'lost cause'!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 | Report this

FYI...some stations still had trucks available to respond with firefighters standing by at the station for calls during the large scale incident. Rest assured that your county will always be protected.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 | Report this

Mutual aid agreements are just that, aid. They aid each other when needed, but never do they leave an "area unprotected". As a retired industrial fire fighter/emergency brigade team member, industrial complexes have these same agreements with their respective municipalities. With the size of Ogemaw County, rural areas etc. I guess some people expect a policeman or fire truck parked on every corner. A refinery etc. cannot do it alone and neither can Prescott or Ogemaw County. Isn't NATO etc. an mutual aid agreement? But, on the other hand, I guess WWI & WWII were also "lost causes" for some. These will be the same people screaming when their corner is "empty".

Thursday, October 6, 2011 | Report this

As a former resident of Ogemaw County and firefighter I guess everyone has forgotten about the 2 big fires in 2005 and 2006. I belive on both of those fires they brought ladder trucks in from 45 minutes away to help extinguish those fires. It doesn't matter if it is a total loss or not, you must protect the surrounding areas and business from them catching on fire. With out fire hydrants you must depend on water being hauled to the fire, and that takes time. Firefighters get exhausted from fighting fire, they need other firefighters to replace them. Until you have worn the gear, you have dragged the hoses around, and spent the time away from your family and friends to protect the COMMUNITY, you will never understand. It's kind of like when people say if you don't vote you have no opinion. Well it's kind of like that! Until you VOLUNTEER your TIME to be a VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER please don't tell them how to do their JOB!

Thursday, October 6, 2011 | Report this

I response to noproblimo01, you do have a point. With 10 departments responding to the fire I also wonder who was "truly" available to respond to other emergencies in the county. In my defense, I wasn't at the fire that night so I'm not aware of far advanced the fire was when Mills township arrived on scene. On the other hand, I am a full-time firefighter near Detroit and have a place in Ogemaw County. I'm also familiar with the establishment that burned. This building was big and it would take a lot of resources to extinguish the fire in its early stage and I doubt the responding dept. had an adequate number of personnel on scene to implement an effective operation. I say this b/c without hydrants in the area, it can be very labor intensive and time consuming to establish a water supply. As far as mutual aid, it would take a considerable amount of time for firefighters to drive to their station get in the trucks and then drive (probably quite a distance) to the scene. By the time mutual aid arrives the building would be beyond the point of saving at which time it would be appropriate (and expected) time to save the exposures. The other buildings are near-by but are not "right on top" of each other. Therefore, a couple of hand lines on the exposures and let the building of origin burn. Does that take 10 departments? I doubt it. Was mutual-aid needed? Yes.

Finally, anyone that is a firefighter responding to any of these post, please don't act like your some super hero. Doing this only discredits you. People don't care that you give time to the fire dept., or that nobody understands what you really do, or how many meals and event you've missed. That's b/c you have chosen to be a firefighter, nobody has forced you to do it, and most importantly you do it b/c you like it!

I hope all departments that responded to this call can learn from the incident and I am sorry for the owners of Mem & Pops.


Thursday, October 6, 2011 | Report this

Firerash has obviously never lost everything he/she owns to a fire. These firefighters are SUPER HEROS. They risk their life in every call they answer. People do care that firefighters volunteer their time. You could not be more wrong. They put out fires because that's what they are trained to do. They don't look at it, like idiots, and foresee whether or not it's worth saving. If these same firefighters ever have to come to your home, and I sincerely hope that they do not have to, they will use the same diligence to save your property...even though you have so disrespected them.

Thursday, October 6, 2011 | Report this

responding to a mutual aid call does not mean that they send all of their equipment. i am sure that the ic officer asked for man power he surely had enough pumpers to do the job. (just a containment not an attack). as for all the other departments that sent man power they had enough of their own equipment sitting in the fire barn to take care of anything that came up. if not mutual aid is the answer. if you really want to know what goes on in the volunteer fire service VOLUNTEER help is ALWAYS appreciated.

Thursday, October 6, 2011 | Report this

Having been a Volunteer fire fighter in the past, I do have some idea as to the politics that go on in the fire department and how mutual aid agreements work. I listened to the whole thing on the scanner. Station four did a good job of coordinating the resources despite the fact that they had radio repeater problems while communicating with Central.

My only question was who was minding the store at home. I think station one had both 123 and 133 out, I think they only have on old pumper left in the building but who was there to man it? How many trucks did station three send? How many did they have left in the building? How about station six?

My only concern is what would happen if a major fire broke out in Rose City or West Branch and all of the resourses and man power we in Skidway, how would you feel if it were your property.

As far as the lost cause comment, when the building is fully involved, there is really not much you can do but set up a couple of monitors to pour water on it and a couple of tankers to keep them supplied. As Firerash said another couple of pumpers with 1 1/2s to protect the surrounding property.

I hope that all can learn from this and keep in mind that when there is a major event, there is still a need to keep some of the equipment and manpower in their service area. Sorry I stepped on some toes but it is just my concern and has been when I was a volunteer. Yes I did quit doing it because of a lung condition.

Thursday, October 6, 2011 | Report this

To all of the fellow firefighters commenting about what would happen should another event take place at the same time. The last time I knew the cities of WB, RC, Prescott, Lupton, Skidway Lake all have volunteer fire departments plus the township departments etc. Ogemaw County has 574 sq. miles of land & 10 sq. miles of water. Do the math again and you can see that you can't be everywhere at once and if mutual aid is called for, the distances are too great to respond in a timely matter for MOST structure fires. Most structures in general are constructed of wood, concrete or steel or a combination of the same. Class A fires, wood & paper etc. go quickly. I assume that the county of Ogemaw operates under the I & C system which would NEVER leave a city, township etc. UNPROTECTED. If so, then Texas A & M University & Lamar University have outstanding curriculum for fire fighters & commanders.

Friday, October 7, 2011 | Report this

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