CRYSTAL TOWNSHIP — A private golf cart business received a blow to its business Wednesday after a fire destroyed dozens of the owners’ golf carts stored in a pole barn.
Eddie Avey was working Wednesday morning in the pole barn of Fry’s Golf Carts LLC, owned by Cliff and Bonnie Fry, at 5575 S. Mt. Hope road, when he heard a loud bangfrom the rear of the 60-by-100-foot building.
“I was in the shop working and then I heard a sound like a shotgun going off,” Avey said. “Then all of the lights started flickering. I ran over to see what happened and the whole back of the pole barn was on fire.”
Standing at the scene on his cell phone, Avey described the situation via his cell phone to Cliff Fry, who was vacationing in Florida with Bonnie.
Avey said Cliff was watching the fire live from Florida on his computer through the use of a security camera.
“He just can’t believe it,” Avey said. “I know he has insurance, but this will be thousands of dollars in damages.”
Crystal Township Assistant Fire Chief Scott Brundage said the structure was showing flames and the roof had already collapsed when the department arrived on scene.
“We were dispatched at 9:43 a.m. and the fire was totally involved when we arrived on scene,” he said. “We don’t really know what happened. (Avey) was here doing some work on the carts, he hooked up some of the chargers and then heard an explosion. He called 911 shortly after that.”
Brundage said the Carson City, Hubbardston, Perrinton and Sheridan Community fire departments were called for mutual aid, manpower and additional tankers almost immediately.
Brundage couldn’t confirm whether an explosion was caused from a golf cart battery, but said the scenario “could definitely happen.”
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
No one was injured on scene.
Brundage said the pole barn, and everything within the barn, was a “complete loss” and the siding of a neighboring building received damage due to the heat of the fire.
Brundage said more than 11,000 gallons of water was used to extinguish the blaze.
Smoke from the fire was visible from as far away as M-66, 11 miles west of the structure.
Adam Eller, owner of the Carson Village Market and close friend of the Frys, was one of the first civilians on scene as he rushed to see if he could do anything to help.
“I came out to see if there was anything I could do, I thought maybe we could help carry some things out,” he said. “But everything was gone already. It was hot as hell from around the corner of the next building. The fire took everything.”
Eller just shook his head as the final flames were extinguished by firefighters at the scene.
“He had a heck of a business here,” he said. “This is definitely going to shorten his vacation in Florida.”
Eller said he believes Cliff and Bonnie were already arranging for the earliest flight home from Florida.
Montcalm County EMS assisted on scene.