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Crews battle fire at historic M&M in uptown Butte

Interior: "Gutted"
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Posted at 7:08 AM, May 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 14:58:50-04

BUTTE — UPDATE: 5/7/2021 - 12:40 pm - John Emeigh reports that firefighters have moved people back from the site of this morning's fire for fear the front of the M&M may fall forward.

Emergency crews responded to a large fire in uptown Butte at the historic M&M bar and cafe early Friday.

The fire, located at 9 North Main Street, covered the Mining City in smoke. Witnesses say firefighters were called at 3 a.m. and the entire interior of the building is gutted.

As of about 7:30 a.m., crews had extinguished the fire and were conducting mop-up efforts and swatting down hot spots.

Officials say the building was unoccupied at the time of the fire, and there have been no reported injuries.

At this point, investigators say the cause of the fire is unknown.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the M&M opened in 1890, operating 24-7 for well over a hundred years.

We will update you as we get more information.

The M&M website provides this overview of its history:

Sam Martin and William F. Mosby were the first of many proprietors of the legendary saloon, eatery, and gambling house that has operated here since 1890. Although Martin and Mosby's tenure was short, Butte's love of nicknames endured and their initials remain as the M&M. For more than a century, the M&M never rested, serving customers around the clock. The doors were always unlocked; each subsequent owner ceremoniously and publicly disposed of the keys. The M&M catered to miners coming off their shift while the kitchen served bountiful breakfast at any hour of the day or night. When Prohibition hit, the M&M followed other Butte bars, officially becoming a cigar store. Cigars sold in the front discreetly cloaked the speakeasy in the back room, where the liquor continued to flow. The 1940's Art Deco ground-floor facade, the M&M's spectacular neon sign, and the vintage 1890's upper level have been refurbished, restoring architectural vitality to a landmark that has provided food, drink and diversion to generations of Butte residents

UPDATE: 5/7/2021 - 10:55 am - Senator Steve Daines made the following statement about the tragic fire in Butte that burned the historic M&M bar.

“This is awful news and such a tragic loss for the Butte community—the M&M is iconic to Uptown Butte,” Daines said. “I’ve spoken with the Butte Silver-Bow Fire Chief and Sheriff to get an update and I will continue to monitor the situation. I’m thankful for the firefighters and first responders that worked to protect the community.”

UPDATE: 5/7/2021 - 7:35 am - Crews have begun mop-up efforts and are swatting down hot spots in the building. Officials say the building was unoccupied at the time of the fire.

Previous:

Crews are battling a large fire in uptown Butte at the historic M&M bar and cafe.

The fire, located at 9 No. Main Street, has covered the Mining City in smoke. Witnesses say firefighters were called at 3 am and the entire interior of the building is gutted.

At this point, investigators say the cause of the fire is unknown.

The building that houses the M&M was open in 1890. The M&M was a legal casino and bar in the early days and remained open for many years before closing in 2003. It remained closed for several years but reopened under new ownership.

The M&M was featured prominently in the Wim Wenders film "Don't come knocking" starring Sam Shepard and Jessica Lange. The famous beat writer Jack Kerouac wrote about going to the M&M in an article called "The Great Western Bus Ride" published in Esquire magazine after the writer's death in 1968.

Witness describes M&M fire

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

Additional reporting by Ken Spencer, David Sherman, and Kaitlyn Aguiles - MTN News