Stores’ futures uncertain

Published 11:00am Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Building stability in question after fire.

David Anderson walked into his damaged store on Monday to salvage a customer’s order of shirts.

If the order could be cleaned and was still usable, the customer told the owner of Lakes Country Graphics they would take it.

For Anderson, it’s the only business he can be sure of this week after his store and four others were severely damaged by fire that started late Sunday night and continued to burn through the early morning Monday.

“It’s just waiting and seeing what I can pull out of there and what equipment is still usable,” Anderson said.

Five businesses were damaged by the fire, and five families were displaced from their apartments above. Two firefighters were injured fighting the blaze.

Fire crews let Anderson and other owners into their shops on Monday just long enough to grab certain things that needed to be saved. Anderson received a call Sunday night when the fire started. He went to assess the situation as crews fought the flames, but, as they continued on into the night, figured it wasn’t worth watching.

Although the blaze gave an unexpected turn to Anderson’s business, he’s decided to stay resilient.

“What else can you do?” Anderson said. “It doesn’t do you any good to start thinking negatively.”

Lakes Country Graphics suffered smoke and water damage, but owners and officials are concerned about the building’s stability. While he hopes for the best, Anderson said he is already prepared to move to a different location in town if he must.

“I could put a press in my garage to get an order out if I needed to,” Anderson said. “I just want to be up and running as soon as possible.”

Next to Anderson’s store, The Spot owner Mike Loreno is unsure about the future as well. Loreno’s restaurant mostly suffered water damage, and he pumped water from the basement on Monday afternoon.

Sharing a wall with the burned building, structural concerns also mean Loreno is waiting for inspections to determine what will happen.

“I’m kind of in a holding pattern,” he said. “I’ll stay if it’s feasible. That’s my short term goal — clean up and move forward. Actually, I guess it’s figuring out if I can clean up and move forward.”

Loreno said The Spot will be closed until a structural plan is created for the entire building and it is safe to reopen.

Across the street, even businesses that weren’t involved with the fire dealt with problems. With the street blocked off well past noon, and traffic guided through a parking lane even today, businesses saw only minimal foot traffic.

The 200 block of Lincoln was blocked at around 11 p.m. the night of the fire. By Monday afternoon, the road was opened to diverted two-way traffic. Cones and partitions moved traffic to the south side of the street, opposite of where the fire occurred.

City Public Works Director Anne Martens estimates that the cones will stay for a week. There will be no parking on the south side of the street, with limited spots on the north side.

A handful of walkers stopped to catch a glimpse of the destruction while a few firefighters, who had been on the scene since the early morning, and city workers worked in the area.

“It’s been a slow day,” said Lance Wells, owner of the City Bakery. “Take main street out of the way and it takes a lot out of play.”

Business owners and residents will have to make due with limited traffic through the usually busy part of town while clean up continues and the building is surveyed for stability.

The 200 block of Lincoln was blocked at around 11 p.m. the night of the fire. By Monday afternoon, the road was opened to two-way traffic. Cones and partitions moved traffic to the south side of the street, opposite of where the fire occurred.

City Public Works Director Anne Martens estimates that the cones will stay for a week. There will be no parking on the south side of the street, with limited spots on the north side.

  • Erica

    And anyone is well informed by Anne! Lol

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