Community mourns loss of oldest roller rink in Michigan after fire believed to be caused by lightning

NOW: Community mourns loss of oldest roller rink in Michigan after fire believed to be caused by lightning

VAN BUREN COUNTY, Mich. - Lightning from Tuesday's storms is being blamed for the devastating blaze that destroyed the oldest roller rink in Michigan, and the seventh oldest in the county.

The Ramona Roller Rink in Dowagiac next to Sister Lakes was gutted, leaving only the sign and a few pillars standing after 14 fire departments, many being volunteers, fought the fire into early Wednesday morning.

Luckily no one was hurt, but what served as a community staple for nearly a century, now just a pile of debris.

The rink started as Ramona Dance Pavilion back in 1928 and was taken over by Harold Schaus in 2004.

Schaus worked at the rink in high school and always dreamed of owning it one day.

He was at a skating conference in Florida when the fire started Tuesday evening.

His daughter Jenn Schaus and other family members were out at the scene Tuesday.

They expressed their gratitude for the overwhelming support they have received from the community, as they think about the next steps and continue to search for the beloved rink cat, Nugget.

She said while it is heartbreaking for the family and that the original building cannot live on, they find comfort in knowing the memories will.

"One of the things my dad has said that has helped him a lot is if you have any memories of yourself or your family at the skating rink, please post it, please share it. Please tag the roller rink, just seeing those memories would be really, really helpful right now,” said Schaus.

Dozens came out to look at the devastation themselves, each with their own stories to share.

The fire chief is warning that folks should not slow down on the side of the road to view the scene, and do not rummage through the remains, as they are still investigating.

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