‘Crow Merc’ supplies decimated by internal fire

Thursday, February 7, 2019
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Photo by Gary Rood

Crow Mercantile in Crow Agency caught fire last Thursday night. The Crow Agency Volunteer Fire Department and Big Horn County Fire Department responded to the fire that appeared to have started on the roof. Fire crews had the blaze under control by 11:30 p.m. There is considerable heat and smoke damage in the interior of the building, and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Crow Mercantile – or “Crow Merc,” as it has come to be known by many Crow Agency residents – was closed Friday after suffering an internal fire. According to owner Jim Watt, the blaze wiped out nearly all produce and supplies inside the store due to heat damage, smoke damage or from the fire itself.

The store has been in operation for nearly seven years and, during that time, became the one of only two grocery stores in the area residents use due to its close location and wide variety of produce. In addition to offering one’s day-to-day groceries, Crow Mercantile also cashed payroll checks from the Crow Tribe and was a source of jobs.

Aside from Apsaalooke Trading Post, located next to the Crow legislative building, residents now have either Reese & Ray’s IGA and Shopko Hometown 14 miles away in Hardin, or Little Horn IGA about 23 miles away in Lodge Grass.

The fire’s cause currently is unknown and the only outside signs of the incident are scorch marks on the roof. Due to its hidden nature, the blaze was reported late and – by the time the fire department arrived – most of the damage already had been done.

“I don’t know what the situation is for rebuilding,” Watt said. “I’ll have to get the numbers from insurance and talk to them about it.”