SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) - Brunelle's Marina has been an historical landmark in South Hadley, and a staple within the western Massachusetts community for over five decades; and three generations later, the business continues to stay in the family.
The Dockside Restaurant started as a snack shop back in 1959. Since then, the family has kept it going and expanded it to what it is today.
But early Friday morning, the Brunelle family woke-up to their worst nightmare. The restaurant was destroyed after a raging fire started in the kitchen, then spread to other parts of the building.
For Joan Lemieux, it was beyond heartbreaking watching her parents' legacy, go up in flames. "There are no words...there are no words. It's the world", stated an emotional Lemieux.
Lemieux's daughter, Lisa Papoutskais, may be from a different generation, but she also has a very personal connection to her family's business. "It's still my family history--it's part of my lineage. I mean, I grew up here so it's just part of me", said Papoutskais.
Luke Brunelle Jr. co-owns the Marina with his father. He told 22News, he won't let this fire stop his family from rebuilding. "We're going to build back. We'll be back. This will pass... It's been a tough summer", said Brunelle.
Ed Pelc watched Friday's fire from his house boat--which he keeps docked at Brunelle's Marina. Pelc is just one of the many patrons that vow to continue supporting the Brunelle family, despite this tragedy. "Hopefully next year we'll get going again....Help these guys out as much as we can, and go from there", assured Pelc.