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Community rallies behind Hartman's Bakery after fire at Manitowoc location as rebuilding efforts begin

Posted at 6:52 PM, Jul 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-28 19:52:53-04

MANITOWOC, Wis. (NBC 26) — The pastries were ready to be decorated and the dough was about to go in the oven. But a Wednesday morning fire changed those plans for one Manitowoc bakery.

"We just started making all the stuff for the next day for our three locations, and we started smelling a smokey smell," co-owner Luisa Rehrauer said.

Still on the shelves, dozens of donuts and loaves of bread have all gone to waste for the Hartman's Bakery Manitowoc location.

"There wasn't a lot of flames and it just got bigger and bigger," Rehrauer said.

This kitchen portion of the building was up in flames and the owners say metal pieces were flying off the roof.

"There's severe damage to the roof back in the kitchen," co-owner Austin Rehrauer said. "Some walls are gonna need to be replaced. Some flooring's gonna need to be replaced from water damage."

Austin says, for the most part, insurance will cover the 70-year-old bakery.

"All three of our locations are closed," he said. "All of our baking occurs here. So if we can't bake, they can't open."

Meanwhile, customers are still coming to the door for their bread.

"We're seeing a lot of the beauty come from the community," Austin said.

"There's even a lot of people that are asking if they can come and help us clean up, which is amazing, like people that we don't even know," Luisa said.

A handful of local businesses have planned fundraisers for Hartman's and a GoFundMe was created on Thursday for possible out-of-pocket expenses.

"We're gonna use that for some employees that can't get the unemployment," Luisa said.

No one was hurt in the blaze and the owners say the rebuilding process is going smoothly.

"For our community, our local businesses and everyone whose reached out whose supported in any way, that means a lot," Austin said.