BOWERS BEACH, Del.- The building that housed “Frenchie’s” Bait & Tackle, an iconic Bowers business that hearkened back to the town’s heritage as a former commercial fishing hotspot, is set for demolition after it partially sank into the Murderkill River on Monday.
Supports beneath the building failed about 6:30 p.m. that evening, according to the property’s owner, William “Frenchie” Poulin.
“The pilings gave out. Erosion actually caused it. But that’s all I’m going to say on that subject,” Poulin said in an interview on Tuesday.
The building’s collapse into the Murderkill drew a large number of onlookers Tuesday as many mourned a Bowers mainstay built after a previous iteration burnt down.
“First, the place caught fire. ‘Frenchie’ lost it. He re-built it and now this happens — it’s heartbreaking,” said Doris Morris, a bartender at the Bayview Inn.
DNREC and multiple fire agencies responded to the scene Monday night to check on the situation and contain any oil or chemicals that may have been in the building.
Bowers Councilman Bob McDevitt, who is also the town’s code and zoning enforcement officer, said there was one clear positive amid the building’s collapse.
“Nobody was injured. Nobody was in the building,” he said.
Both the Town of Bowers and Kent County have issued demolition permits for the building, which is located on Murderkill Avenue.
Although Poulin admitted fish had not been sold at the building for quite some time, he doesn’t plan on letting the collapse of the building and corresponding boat deck be the end of his presence in Bowers.
“I’m gonna’ rebuild. It might be a smaller place. I don’t want to stay home all the time in the morning,” he said. “I want to have a place to have coffee or something in the morning.”