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Finland Bait Shop destroyed by fire

A fire destroyed the Finland Bait Shop last Thursday. According to Everett Haselow II, son of owners, Everett and Peggy Haselow, Sr., the building and contents sustained heavy damage.

The younger Haselow, who lives in a trailer near the shop with his wife, Anne and their child, said that the business will likely be declared a total loss.

"Everything you use for fishing is either plastic or metal -- fishing line, poles, and reels. If it's metal, it's still probably got plastic on it and when you've got that kind of heat..." Haselow said, trailing off. "What is salvageable is smoke damaged," he added. Fire fighters concur with Haselow's assessment.

"Absolutely. No doubt about it. It was a total loss," said Finland fire fighter, Danette Sundvick, who was one of the first on the scene the day of the fire. "It was engulfed when we got there. In this case we did our best to protect the house," she said referring to Everett and Anne's home, which she estimates was just five feet from the bait shop.

Understandably, the experience has left the family a little flummoxed.

"You can never plan for something like that. I was a Boy Scout and I've had EMS and fire training. It doesn't prepare you for when it happens to you," said Haselow II, adding that he and his parents were in the process of trying to revive the business when the fire broke out.

The building is a well-known sight in the small town and has become a gathering place for locals.

"Everett Haslow, Sr., is just a wonderful old guy. He has some stories! (The bait shop) is a place where many of the older Finland and Silver Bay guys would gather on the chairs and stumps outside the front and tell stories and drink coffee and share a nip or two," said Joi Electa of Silver Bay, who facilitates art classes at the Clair Nelson Center in Finland.

Neither Everett Haselow, Sr., nor his wife, Peggy returned calls from the Lake County News-Chronicle. No one seemed surprised. The elder Haselows are not known for seeking out public attention.

"They're not the kind of people who ask for help. I think they're just taking it one day at a time," said Everett Haselow II.

In the meantime, Haselow II, said that people have approached him about planning a fund raiser to help rebuild the Finland Bait Shop.

"I would like to do something," he said, "but I don't know where to start. My family is not the kind of people to ask for help. So if you grow up that way, you don't know where to start."

Haselow II said that in spite of losing his business, his father is philosophical:

"It is what it is," said Haselow, Sr., "you just have to move on."