A fire reported at 2:31 a.m. Nov. 20 damaged the interior of Pampa Lanes.

A fire reported at 2:31 a.m. Nov. 20 damaged the interior of Pampa Lanes.

Photo by Brian Louwers


Fire damages shuttered bowling alley in Warren

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published November 20, 2019

 The shuttered bowling alley was no longer in operation.

The shuttered bowling alley was no longer in operation.

Photo by Brian Louwers

 The fire at the shuttered bowling alley apparently broke out in the southwest corner of the building, near machinery once used to operate the lanes.

The fire at the shuttered bowling alley apparently broke out in the southwest corner of the building, near machinery once used to operate the lanes.

Photo by Brian Louwers

WARREN — An investigation into the cause of an early morning fire at a shuttered bowling alley on Van Dyke Avenue continued at press time Nov. 20.

Chief Tim Morgan, of the Warren Fire Department, said the call came in at 2:31 a.m. and that the first units arrived at Pampa Lanes, located on the west side of Van Dyke, north of 13 Mile Road, to find heavy smoke at the rear of the building.

“Incredibly, they were able to knock it down and get it out,” Morgan said of the fire, which apparently broke out near machinery at the southwest corner of the building, once used to operate the lane equipment. “I thought it was a surround and drown, and I was surprised. There’s so much wood in there. It looks like it was cooking for a while. It’s an incredible stop.”

Morgan said the department’s battalion chief was tasked with a decision about how to battle the fire.

“According to the battalion chief, they went in and out two or three times trying to balance whether to go defensive because it was abandoned,” Morgan said. The fire was apparently extinguished, however, before a decision to withdraw into a defensive posture — to minimize the risk to firefighters — was made.

“It looks like a majority of the fire was around that machinery,” Morgan said. “I don’t know how, (but) the fire definitely started in that back corner.”

An investigation into the exact cause of the fire remained ongoing Nov. 20, as workers from Warren’s Water Department arrived to secure the vacant property.

Fire crews assigned to Rescue 4, Engine 6, Squad 4, Engine 5, Squad 6, Squad 5, Squad 2, Truck 4 and Truck 1 responded to the scene. There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians reported.  

The latest Pampa Lanes structure opened in 1963 and was founded by “Jimmy” Bruzzese, who opened his first 16-lane bowling alley called the Fantasy at Seven Mile and Hayes roads in 1952. The original structure in Warren opened in 1960 and was destroyed by fire in 1962. Bruzzese died in 1963 before the new bowling alley opened in Warren.