SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) - Brunelle's Marina, which was heavily damaged in a fire Friday morning, has been owned and operated by the same family since 1959. The popular marina and restaurant has served not only as a landmark along the Connecticut River, but also a staple within the western Massachusetts community.
The Brunelle family has kept the marina going for the last 54 years, and expanded it into what it is today. That includes the riverboat cruise aboard the Lady Bea, as well as the Dockside Restaurant.
Members of the family, however, woke up to their worst nightmare Friday; seeing generations of their hard work go up in flames.
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Joan Lemieux, the owner's sister, said that the business means everything to them.
"There are no words, there are no words, it's the world," Lemieux said.
Lisa Papoutskais, the owner's niece, was also crushed by what had happened. "I hope they can rebuild; because even though my uncle owns it, it's still my family history--it's part if my lineage," she said. "I mean, I grew up here, so it's just part of you."
Co-owner Luke Brunelle, Jr. told 22News that they hope to re-open in the next couple of days, and may operate out of a tent on the property if necessary.
"This will pass, we'll move on. We're not quitting! We'll set up; we'll be back in business in a couple days," Brunelle said.
The fire did not destroy any of the boats in the water or outside (such as the Lady Bea), and they were able to remove most of the boats from the showroom before the fire could reach them.