SWARTZ CREEK (WJRT) (7/10/2018) - Roger Sharp said his grief has turned to hope, as he begins to look forward to building a new Sharp Funeral Home in Swartz Creek.
"I had a real struggle the first few days, but it's gone. So we'll tear it down and we'll start over," the longtime funeral director said.
On May 16, the 50-year-old business went up in flames. Several area fire departments worked to get it under control for several hours into the night.
"There were some knick-knacks we got out of there, but nothing that means anything, other than the fact that my kids didn't get hurt taking those bodies out of there," Sharp said.
His son and son-in-law, who now run the business, saved all 11 bodies inside when the fire broke out. That night, they were moved and taken care of at Sharp's Linden location.
Since then, the Swartz Creek operation has been run out of Hill Creek Church.
"The church opened up their doors to us and I think last month we had 19 funerals out of there," Sharp said. "It's been unbelievable, unbelievable. Business has not changed, we're going right along just like we were before."
The fire destroyed five rooms, leaving only the chapel area standing. Sharp expects the chapel to be flattened by the end of the day Tuesday.
The new building should be up and running in the next six to seven months. He said it'll be larger and look a little different.
"It'll look more modern, but it'll still have the colonial look, but not as high of pillars and things like that. It'll be more stone and masonry and siding," Sharp said. "It'll be set up everything on one floor. No steps upstairs or downstairs or whatever. We just go at it again."
The Michigan State Police fire investigator said the cause is still undetermined. He has ruled out that it's an electrical fire, saying it was likely caused by the careless discharge of a cigarette.