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How neighboring businesses are dealing with M&M fire aftermath

fire m and m.jpg
Posted at 6:28 PM, May 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-10 20:55:16-04

BUTTE — The destruction of the historic M&M Bar sent shockwaves throughout the Butte community and businesses next door have been dealing with the aftermath of the fire.

"In the best way to describe what I saw was that when you’re cooking bacon and you burn it a little too much and there’s like this smokey haze in your kitchen, we had that sort of smoke-haze in here," said Jon Wick, owner of 5518 Designs.

Nikki Pontier-Carrels, owner of How Novel Books and Art, said she was in shock when she heard the news the M&M was on fire. "It was a big deal. I wasn’t expecting it, it was very traumatic."

When the crowd had dispersed, Carrels had a look inside her store, worried that the books were damaged by the smoke.

"We’re a book store and paper is kind of porous and so I thought the smoke, getting the smell and the char, getting stained on the pages would damage the materials," she said.

Luckily both stores have only minor damage. None of the books in How Novel were stained, and both stores just need to air out the smell. During the course of the fire, business owners were concerned it would spread and cause more damage to the area.

"When I turned on to Park Street and saw that plume of smoke coming from an area like, literally, where your business is is an actual nightmare," said Wick.

Wick had stayed across the street the entire day, watching the effort to put out the fire in real-time. "I knew that if I left during the day my mind would be here so it didn’t pay to leave," he said.

Carrels stayed home but kept track of what was going on through news and social media. "My heart more went out to them than what was going on or what could have happened to our store," said Carrels.

Efforts are underway to help rebuild the M&M. 5518 designs will be putting out a special t-shirt where 100% of the proceeds will go toward the rebuilding effort.