A 20 year old Illinois man is expected to be in Vilas County court Sep. 30 for two charges against him in connection with the Aug. 11 fire which destroyed Gooch’s A-1 Bar and Grill in Boulder Junction. 

Connor Cavanaugh of Orland Park, Ill., faces a charge of first offense operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and one other of reckless driving.

His first court appearance was Monday and he was released on a $2,500 signature bond.  

Personnel from 20 different fire departments, including those with the Bessemer and Sherman fire departments in Michigan’s upper peninsula, responded to the blaze. 

According to a press release from the Vilas County Sheriff’s Office, the dispatch center received a report at around 1:40 a.m. a power pole at Gooch’s had been struck by a vehicle and the vehicle was on fire. 

Emergency responders arriving at the scene observed the vehicle fully engulfed and the fire had spread into the structure. 

The building was a total loss and Cavanaugh was taken into custody. 

Gooch’s was closed at the time of the incident and no injuries were reported.

Wednesday, Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce executive director Theresa Smith said people were “shocked and saddened to hear about the fire at Gooch’s A-One Bar this past weekend.”

“Thankfully no one was hurt, but the building is a total loss,” she said in an email. “Our hearts go out to Gooch, Laurel and their staff as they cope with this tragedy. We can’t even imagine this town without Gooch’s A-One Bar, but the good news is they plan to re-build! The entire community — and surrounding communities — will support Gooch and Laurel every step along the way.”

Brian Jopek may be reached via email at bjopek@lakelandtimes.com.