Admired landmark burned to the ground just hours before Grand Haven Coast Guard station attacked

Posted at 9:51 PM, Feb 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-09 22:32:12-05

GOLDEN TOWNSHIP, Mich.—Matthew Krueger, who has no prior criminal record, is also suspected of setting a fire in Oceana County just hours before that alleged attack on the Grand Haven Coast Guard station. That fire happened at a local landmark in Golden Township, which is up near the Silverlake area. While it appeared to be a gas station from the outside,  it was much more than that to the community.

The fire department says the building is a total loss. What looks like at first glance a decades-old retro gas station, actually started out as a hobby, and collection of antiques.

“They would say I want to stop into the gas station and we would tell them it’s not a gas station and it’s not a store. It’s a collection,” said 8-year-resident of Mears, Karin Bolger.

A collection, neighbors like Karin Bolger, admired. She said it’s a staple for residents and tourists alike. She recalled an article she thought fondly off in the Oceana’s Herald Journal several years ago.

“There was an article written about how this place looks like a gas station but people would stop, and it wasn’t a gas station, and he [the owner] would give people tours to see his collection,” said Bolger.

Fox 17 News found that article published in 2007. At that time it was owned by a man named Dave McClellan who decorated the garage with a 1950’s appearance as a hobby.  The article was written in celebration highlighting how residents, his family, motorcyclists and tourists alike enjoyed the retro pumping station. The article was titled “Vintage gas station brings lots of smiles”. The owner at the time used the property mostly to show off automotive memorabilia.

“I was shocked,” said Bolger.

It’s unclear when the ownership changed, some neighbors say someone new bought it about a year ago. The property is listed belonging to a couple in Illinois believed to be Krueger’s relatives.

Investigators say Krueger had been staying there for the weekend, and right now, both they, and neighbors are still wondering why he burnt down the local landmark.

“I didn’t know him so I have no idea,” said Bolger.

Bolger says the owners gave tours to people that wanted it, but she didn’t know McClellan or Krueger. Bolger and other community members say it’s a shame to see it this way.

The fire department is still investigating how Krueger allegedly burned down the garage. So far he has not been charged in connection to this incident in Oceana County, but Fox 17 News is told that could happen as early as Tuesday.