Fire sparks on roof of Harris Building

Firefighters douse a fire on the roof of The Harris Building on Division Avenue in Grand Rapids. (Jan. 28, 2014)
Firefighters douse a fire on the roof of The Harris Building on Division Avenue in Grand Rapids. (Jan. 28, 2014)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – A fire sparked on the roof of The Harris Building in downtown Grand Rapids early Tuesday morning.

Firefighters douse a fire on the roof of The Harris Building on Division Avenue in Grand Rapids. (Jan. 28, 2014)
Firefighters douse a fire on the roof of The Harris Building on Division Avenue in Grand Rapids. (Jan. 28, 2014)

Firefighters at the scene at 111 S. Division Ave., south of Oakes Street, told 24 Hour News 8 the fire sparked around 2 a.m. in the heating and cooling system near a gas line. But they said they don’t know how it ignited. The firefighters dealt with frigid temperatures and one frozen hydrant.

Watch the video below as Harris Building Manager Bob Dykstra gave 24 Hour News 8′s Amanda Jarrett an inside look of the building after the fire occurred and what needs to be cleaned up.

 

There is smoke and water damage on the second and third floors.

Some of the water damage inside The Harris Building on Division Avenue in Grand Rapids after a fire occurred there. (Jan. 28, 2014)
Some of the water damage inside The Harris Building on Division Avenue in Grand Rapids after a fire occurred. (Jan. 28, 2014)
Part of the 2013 ArtPrize exhibit Botanical Exotica was not damaged from a fire at The Harris Building on Division Avenue in Grand Rapids. (Jan. 28, 2014)
Part of the 2013 ArtPrize exhibit Botanical Exotica was not damaged from the fire at The Harris Building on Division Avenue in Grand Rapids. (Jan. 28, 2014)

The building has been around since 1892 and undergoing some renovations since last fall. The Local Epicurean moved into the building months ago, and will now be sidelined momentarily while crews clean up water damage. “We’ll have to clean that up and then have the health department out to inspect everything to make sure they can reopen,” said Dykstra.

A newer business — the Chocolate Lounge, just feet away — was untouched by water damage.

The Harris Building was a 2013 ArtPrize venue and currently houses 25 pieces of artwork.

Part of the 2013 ArtPrize exhibit Botanical Exotica was not damaged from the fire at The Harris Building on Division Avenue in Grand Rapids. (Jan. 28, 2014)
Part of the 2013 ArtPrize exhibit Botanical Exotica was not damaged from the fire at The Harris Building on Division Avenue in Grand Rapids. (Jan. 28, 2014)

Dykstra said all the artwork that he checked seems to be fine, even an ArtPrize piece hanging not far from the hole in the roof where firefighters doused the flames. Fire crews at the scene told 24 Hour News 8 they took extra precautions to try and protect all of the artwork.

Dykstra said it has taken a long time to get the Harris Building to where it is now, and a small fire isn’t going to stop them.

“Fortunately we were starting to do a little more work. We have quite a few events scheduled for April that hopefully we can get done. We’re still pretty excited about the building.”

He said plans are still in place to add an Italian restaurant and wine bar, once building officials clean up and can move forward from the fire.

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