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KALAMAZOO – A popular Kalamazoo nightspot caught fire last week, causing an estimated $75,000 worth of damage. Firefighters from the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety responded to call from Brothers bar, located at 207 E. Stockbridge Ave., at about 8:30 p.m. on March 16. It took an estimated 30 firefighters more than an hour to put out the blaze. But after the smoke cleared, authorities found what they called “unexplained occurrences.”
Fire Marshal Marty Myers told the Kalamazoo Gazette that he had called for an investigation.
“Right now there are certain elements of the fire that we have to take some extra time to do some further examination on to see why they occurred,” he said.
Investigators have determined that the fire began on the outside of the club’s west side.
“Then it went into the walls and spread throughout it to the front of the building,” KDPS Deputy Chief George Sheets told the Gazette. “The two-bedroom apartment upstairs is totally destroyed.”
It was the resident of that apartment, Richard Parce, who first discovered the fire and alerted authorities after smelling burning rubber and noticing flames outside his window. Parce called the fire in and then went downstairs to notify the club’s bartender, who then ushered the club’s patrons outside to safety.
Cevin Armentrout, the club’s owner, was home when he was notified that his business was ablaze. Armentrout, who only bought the club in October, said he would “most likely” rebuild.
On March 25, http://365Gay.com reported that Kalamazoo police had classified the fire as an arson. However, according to the report, Armentrout was not convinced, but rather believed that the fire was caused by “kids playing around.”