As the latest COVID 19 shutdown continues to hamper small businesses throughout the province, the last thing Mikey’s on 12th owner Mike Clark expected to face was a house fire.
Around 8:30 p.m. on Sunday (Jan. 17), Clark discovered a fire had started on the top floor of his Turner Valley home.
“I heard some noises upstairs, so I went to investigate and it was just totally black,” Clark said.
Clark quickly evacuated the home with his wife, his two adult sons and their two dogs as the attic-turned-living space went up in flames.
While Clark and his family made it out safely, the blaze destroyed all of the upstairs belongings, and claimed the life of their family cat, Isis.
“It was like an apartment up there, and nothing is salvageable,” said Clark.
Authorities are still investigating what caused the fire to start in the attic, which had been converted into a living space for one of his sons.
“At this point, we just don’t know,” said Clark.
“My son has one of those remote control cars, and they have those lithium batteries in them, so that might have done it, but right now it’s all speculation” said Clark.
Currently staying in a hotel in Okotoks, Clark and his family will move to temporary lodgings in Calgary while they wait to find out if and when they can return to their home of 21 years.
“It’s a great, old, 1930’s heritage house, so it would be nice to be able to save it,” said Clark.
The troops rally
Unwilling to sit idly by, Clark’s bar staff rallied together to start a GoFundMe page.
Within hours of finding out about the fire, the Mikey’s staff had the page up and running, and the donations poured in.
“It was just crazy the response we got,” said former Mikey’s GM Emily Grace Brown.
“We had musicians, musicians parents, patrons, and of course staff all contributing. He’s just given so much back to everybody over the years.”
Since starting the GoFundMe page Wednesday (Jan. 20), they’ve raised $19,718, surpassing their original goal of $10,000.
“Mike wasn’t expecting any of this, so I sent him the page and I said ‘Mikey, I think they really like you,’” Brown said.
“But he’s so humble about this stuff.”
Clark said he’s very moved by the efforts of a community that continues to face its own struggles.
“I keep telling me wife – sometimes it’s easier to give than it is to receive,” said Clark.
“A lot of the donations are coming from other hospitality people, and musicians, and they dont have a lot right now either, so it’’s really touching.”
Having been in operation since 2008, Mikey’s on 12th has become a hub for both budding and established musicians.
“We’re absolutely a family over there, and it’s really a testament to his character and the community surrounding that place,” said Brown.
You get what you give
Clark is no stranger to throwing charity events, having hosted a fundraiser for the Tom Baker Cancer Centre last November, as well backing Brown when she wanted to raise money for the Calgary Women’s Shelter in October, to name a few.
“The Calgary Women’s Shelter was the first event that we’d collaborated on, and he supported me 100 per cent, because that’s just the kind of person he is,” said Brown.
Brown, who now works full-time as a social worker and part-time at Mikey’s, said it’s refreshing to see someone like Clark use their musical talent and community ties to help others.
“I’m a lifer there. I’ll never leave,” said Brown.
Mikey’s was set to start renovations on their dance floor last week, which due to the house fire, will be put on hold indefinitely.
“Other priorities just popped up,” said Clark.