1908 : Metz Fire

October 15, 2021 all-day

One of Michigan’s most tragic stories happened in the town of Metz, somewhat west of Millersburg and 15 miles south of Rogers City.

On the morning of October 15, 1908, a fire swept 35 miles all the way to Lake Huron; in doing so, it wiped out the town of Metz killing 37 people and leaving 700 residents homeless.

A tad south of Metz was the Detroit & Mackinac Railroad, whose administrators sent a special train to Metz in order to save some townspeople.  40 residents, mostly made up of mothers with their children, got on board with some possessions. By the time the train was ready to leave, the town was engulfed in flames and the train tracks led right through an intense blaze…so intense, it melted & warped the rails which derailed the train. Some of the passengers jumped off the rail car and were able to escape, but about a dozen people were burned to death in the gondola….9 of them children, as their ash & bone remains revealed.

Source : John Robinson, “Michigan History: The Metz Fire, 1908“, 99.1 WFMK Blog, January 4, 2019.