Monday brought good news for the three businesses displaced by fire early the morning of Friday, Feb. 24.
During a preliminary survey of the building, no asbestos was found.
That opened the door for ServPro to begin removing file cabinets containing client data critical to the operation of Peters & Company and Lewis Tax & Accounting Services. They occupied the upper level of the building at the corner of 5th & Meeker; Del Mesa Farms' six employees worked in the lower portion of the structure, where the fire started. Brad Peters, owner of Peters & Company and the building, said firefighters have determined the fire started in a fuse box in the southwest corner of the structure, moved up the wall and spread across the ceiling. The blaze smoldered for several hours before it was spotted by a neighbor walking her dog. Firefighters responded to the scene at 5:50 a.m.
"They said if they'd arrived 30 minutes later the building would have been gone," Peters said. Instead, the building and all its contents were amazingly intact. They were blackened and heavily smoke damaged, but dry and recoverable. ServPro loaded up file cabinets and bankers' boxes, promising the most essential items would be returned within 48 hours — more good news for Brad Peters and Matt Lewis, the owner of Lewis Tax & Accounting Services.
They have temporarily moved their tax services to the Delta Professional Building at 540 Main Street. Phone service will be restored by midweek, with no change in their contact numbers — 874-7621 for Lewis Tax & Accounting Services and 874-7624 for Peters & Company. Del Mesa Farms has relocated to the mill near Confluence Park and can be reached by calling 874-7503 or 874-8287.
"It will be an inconvenience, getting everything moved over here and up and running, but it looks like it will be just a few days," said Matt Lewis. Both he and Brad were ecstatic that ServPro could have their most critical files back in 48 hours. The hard drives have been removed from their computers and are being installed in new machines. That's good news for two businesses that are in the midst of the hectic tax season.
The fire was within a block of the fire station, which led to a three-minute response time for the first truck after 911 was called. The firefighters cut a hole in the roof to provide vertical ventilation, to relieve heat and gas from the building. At the same time, they were attacking the fire on the interior of the multiple-level building. After nearly an hour the fire was deemed under control and firefighters performed overhaul to insure all of the fire was extinguished.
When he was admitted into the building around 9:30 a.m., Peters said he was amazed by the absence of water. "These guys are professionals," he said. He also praised Jerry Reiher of State Farm Insurance and employee Genny Commer.
No one was injured in the blaze, and the building is considered structurally sound. Client data is safe and secure, and Peters and Lewis feel fortunate to have employees who are willing to go above and beyond the call of duty. After finally getting a good night's sleep, Brad Peters is feeling a lot more optimistic.
"It's bad, but oh God, it could have been worse," he said.blog comments powered by Disqus