Jul 28, 2014
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Community Comes Together in the Aftermath of Fire

Several businesses near Lions & Tigers & Beers Sports Club remain closed in Wyandotte.

Two days after a fire destroyed , the aftermath of working to restore business as usual has begun in downtown Wyandotte.

, surrounding businesses were saved and now their owners are working to assess damage and set timelines for having their businesses up and running at full capacity.

Some remain closed, while others said they were never affected.

Power and gas had been cut to the entire block of Biddle between Oak and Elm since the fire. The utilities were restored Tuesday morning to every building except for LTB's.

With power back, many business owners were on site Tuesday to assess damage and begin the cleanup process.

“We had the most water damage in the basement,” said Scott Leake, the chief operating officer of , the law firm located next to the fire site. “We are in the process of salvaging and moving our files today. As a law firm, we will be able to continue to operate from a satellite site until we can reopen here.”

Firefighters worked for hours on Sunday and into Monday morning to save surrounding businesses from catching afire.

“We are just grateful (and) other Downriver departments who came were able to keep the fire contained to that one store,” Leake said. “They have done an excellent job in keeping the fire from spreading, considering the wind direction that day. We will be able to completely recover in a timely manner.”

The owner of , a bridal shop that sustained the most smoke and water damage on the block, refused comment, but one of his customers showed up to find out about her granddaughter’s wedding gown.

“My granddaughter’s wedding is July 28 and I work at , so I thought I would stop by and see if I could get some information,“ Lynda Flesher said. “We bought the dress off the rack so I was worried.”

Flesher was unable to talk with anyone, but said a sign is posted for customers.

“The sign basically says they will ,” Flesher said in a concerned tone. “I know it is not their fault, but we hope to hear something soon.”

, located at Biddle and Goddard, was on site Tuesday to drain about 2 feet of water out of the basements of the affected stores. Workers were busy with trucks draining the water out.

The businesses that remain closed include the law firm, Bella Donna’s, and .

David Hall, owner of Country Enchantments, knew on Sunday that his business was hit hard by smoke damage.

"All my merchandise is a total loss," he said.

One of his employees, Peggy Cady, was there Tuesday, hoping for the best.

“We didn’t have power until today,” she said. ”I already had to turn away two customers. I hope we will be able to reopen soon."

Laura Painter, co-owner of the Riverside Yarn Gallery, said the shop's rows of yarn are of great concern to herself and her business partner, Michelle Pappas.

“This is just so disappointing,” Painter said. “The fire damage has caused a smoky smell in a store which houses miles of yarn."

She said the damage will have to be fully assessed before they'll know the true loss.

“You really can’t wash smoke out of yarn," Painter said.

A handful of insurance agents were on hand Tuesday to talk with business owners throughout the complex.

Employees from also were on hand to make sure power was running efficiently. The Wyandotte Fire Department also was on the scene, .

“This is the beginning of a long process after the fire,” Fire Chief Jeffery Carley said. “We will be conducting interviews and doing whatever we can to help our businesses out.”

The good news is that many of the businesses located nearby are already open.

“We are open for business and already made a few deliveries today,” said Melanie Mara, store operator of , who spoke while several trucks draining water from nearby businesses operated just outside her front door. “None of our inventory was affected.”

Teresa Burbo of said it's been business as usual for her.

Jeanette Rinna-Davis, owner of , which is located only a couple of doors down from the fire site, stood with hundreds of others Sunday night watching the blaze. She found out about the fire from friends who called her, thinking she might had been working at the time.

"When I was at home listening to what they were telling me about the fire, I was freaking out," she said. “We will be planning some special sales and a Third Friday sale to let our customers know we are open for business.”

Cynthia Pinchler, manager of located at the south end of the block, said it's been smooth sailing inside their building.

“We were completely unaffected,” she said. “Our power has remained on and we can’t smell any smoke at all.”

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