Businesses are recuperating after attic fire

Gardenerville - Four small businesses sharing a building on Industrial Way in Gardnerville are temporarily closed after an attic fire on Sunday set off sprinklers and caused thousands of dollars of water damage.

"All the damage is in the front of the building," said Linda Bell, owner of Tweed's Upholstery, one of four businesses who rent space at the 1424 Industrial Way location. "The water damage is mainly in the sheet rock. The fire was contained to the attic and put out by the sprinkler system. Four of the units have gaping holes where the water came down."

Bell was at the site on Monday moving equipment and supplies from her store. In a hallway connecting three other units, construction workers swept out water-rotted sheet rock that had fallen from the ceiling. The offices of Marv's Custom Framing, Reid Dental Ceramics and accountant Caroline Chieffo all suffered water damage.

"The owner of the building, Marinell Wright, is trying to get an insurance team together," said Bell. "She said we should be back up and running in two to three weeks."

However, Bell said a contractor surveying the site in the morning told her it would take longer.

"He said it would be more like two months," Bell said. "Everyone is being asked to vacate. The gentleman in the building behind us offered me space to set up a while. I know the dental lab is looking for a place to put their stuff in. Caroline Chieffo will work from home, and I don't know about Marv's Custom Framing."

Two businesses in the back of the building, Jim's Plumbing and Heating and Cujo's Hog House, were unscathed by the fire and remain open for business.

"We had hardly any damage," said Margie Gutierrez, office manager for Jim's Plumbing and Heating. "The sprinklers didn't go off in our part of the building."

High Sierra Fellowship church, also located in the rear of the building, shared similar luck.

"The sprinklers didn't go off in our area either," said Pastor Rich Lammay. "A little water seeped through the walls and damaged the carpet, but mostly it just smells like smoke."

High Sierra Fellowship is open as normal, Lammay said.

Meanwhile, officials are still investigating the cause of the fire.

"We don't have a cause yet, but the fire occurred in the attic, clearly in the vicinity of the natural gas heaters," said Capt. Terry Taylor of the East Fork Fire and Paramedic Districts. "The sprinklers worked, but water damage has hurt businesses pretty badly, a big hit."


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