Saturday, Mar 24, 2018
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Electrical fire shutters Cabela’s Dundee store

Retailer may open by weekend after cleanup


Yellow caution tape keeps customers away from the entrance to the Dundee, Mich., Cabela’s store, and a notice on the firm’s Web site serves notice that the retailer was closed because of fire.

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DUNDEE, Mich. — The Cabela’s store here is expected to be closed for at least two more days as crews repair the damage caused by an electrical fire early Wednesday.

Dundee Police Chief Police David Uhl said the fire started in a light fixture above the outdoors store’s clothing department. The exact cause of the blaze wasn’t known, though officials suspected an electrical short.

The fire, reported at about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, melted the light’s plastic housing, which fell onto clothing below.

Cabela’s employees who were working the overnight shift were able to put out the fire on the shopping floor. Crews from the Dundee Township Volunteer Fire Department used one of the store’s lifts to reach the ceiling to douse the flames in the fixture.

In what may have been a lucky break, the fire started directly above flame-resistant Under Armour clothing, Chief Uhl said. That may have kept the blaze from spreading, though it produced considerable smoke that spread throughout the store.

Officials said there was no structural damage to the building. Soot from the smoke and the dry chemical compound sprayed on the blaze was the main concern.

“All that stuff made a fine coating all over the entire store,” Chief Uhl said.

Officials said it was likely that all of the clothing inventory was ruined. The store’s collection of taxidermy animals also will have to be professionally cleaned, Chief Uhl said.

Cabela’s stores are known nearly as much for the large displays of taxidermy wildlife and huge aquariums as they are for the gear they sell.

The company did not respond to requests for comment by The Blade on Wednesday.

A notice on the store’s Web site said the location was closed because of the fire.

“At this time we are closed to the public while we clean and repair our sales floor for your shopping enjoyment and safety. We will reopen as soon as possible,” it read.

Chief Uhl said company officials had indicated to his department that the store would likely be closed for three days.

The Dundee Cabela’s is one of Michigan’s top tourist attractions, drawing millions of visitors a year.

Shirley Massingill, of the Dundee Business Association, said it’s not uncommon for the store’s visitors to stay overnight in Dundee. The area around the 225,000-square-foot store, which opened in 2000, has developed significantly.

“It’ll have some sort of effect on the businesses in close proximity, but overall it probably won’t affect too awfully much. Mostly the restaurants and maybe some of the hotels,” she said.

Officials said they didn’t have a dollar estimate for how much damage the fire caused or what the cleanup would cost.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at: or 419-724-6134.

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