Fire in UP destroys couple’s dream to open gem shop


This photo shows the destruction of a fire in downtown Calumet, Mich., on Monday, May 24, 2021. State and federal authorities are pitching in as investigators try to determine the cause of the fire that destroyed three buildings in the historic downtown of the Upper Peninsula village. Investigators in Calumet were treating it as a crime scene. The fire was reported late Friday, May 21 and stretched into Saturday. (Garrett Neese/The Daily Mining Gazette via AP)

CALUMET, Mich. (AP) — Stories are emerging from people who were affected by a devastating fire last week in an Upper Peninsula community.

The fire destroyed three buildings in a historic block of Calumet.

In one of them, Brandon Looper and Jeanne Liuska had planned to open a gem and mineral shop in just a few days. They lost their apartment as well as a collection of coins, antique toys and mining maps.

Looper and Liuska have been able to salvage at least 100 pounds of an estimated 5,000 pounds of copper at the site.

Looper says he’s trying to stay positive. He says, “It sounds bad, but we’re Yoopers. We find a way to pick up the pieces.”

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