Fire Destroys Zup's In Babbitt

By KBJR News 1


4 photos

September 24, 2011 Updated Nov 26, 2013 at 12:43 AM CDT

Babbitt, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - Fire officials say the call came in around 2 AM.

The fire destroyed the Zup's grocery store and the nearby drug store and damaged several other businesses.

"I could say surreal now, earlier that's what I thought, you'd come here and your place of work is just on fire. And Its getting torn down. Right now it's, I heard somebody say devastating"

The crisp smell of the fall leaves was overpowered in Babbitt from the smoking, smoldering pile of scrap metal where Zup's Grocery Store stood the day before.

A place where Brandon Leblanc has worked every job the store had to offer.

"One of my co-workers called me this morning, and I called him back and they told me the store was on fire and I ran up here because that's not what you expect to hear at four in the morning and I stayed up here pretty much all day."

The fire started burning around 2:00 AM; fire trucks from surrounding communities arrived to battle the blaze which could have been much worse.

"We look at whats gone but I think we need to pay attention to what's been saved and what the fire dept was able to make a good stop halfway through that building," said Deputy State Fire Marshal James Lammatteo.

That building, a strip mall, caused problems for the fire crews but they were able to put it out, avoiding further damage.

Now that the smoke is starting to clear, where the citizens of Babbitt are going to get their food and medication, is the big question right now.

Zup's was the lone grocery store in Babbitt and now that it’s gone, residents are concerned.

"Its going to be very hard for the community. Until they get the other store built, people got to drive a good distance to get the little bit they can," said one worried Zup's Customer.

It might be hard, but the Babbitt community is pulling together as we speak, and are ready for the challenge.

"They will get together they have been they're going to be helping each other a lot."

Authorities say the cause of the fire is likely to be released sometime later next week.