Owner of Building Destroyed in December Blaze Intent On Rebuilding
When employees at Panhandle Restaurant saw smoke and flames coming from the building on Kootenai Street that housed Sequels consignment store on November 29, 2009, owner Carolyn Testa knew she had her work cut out for her in the days, weeks and months ahead.
"Both my insurance company and Michelle Kramer's insurance company have investigated the fire," said Carolyn in an exclusive interview with Ruralnorthwest.com. "They suspect that it was an electrical problem, but there is no report yet. So far, no cause of negligence has been determined. The investigation is over and right now we are just waiting for the report."
In what Carolyn termed "an amazingly destructive fire," the entire building is unofficially being considered a "total loss."
"The fire inspector told us that the temperature inside Sequels must have been over 1000 degrees," Carolyn explained. "The light fixtures, the doors, even some of the jewelry in the showcases melted."
Even though the loss of the building, which Carolyn bought in 2004, has been a difficult experience, she is determined to keep a positive attitude and make the best of a challenging situation.
"Now that I'm forced to renovate the building, I am going to improve it," she stated emphatically. "We are going to gut it right down to the brick, raise the ceiling and replace all the doors and windows. I have hired Fulton Quality Construction to do the renovation and they are already at work."
Luckily, the Groove Studio did not suffer any lasting smoke damage and, in fact, is back in business with no harm done to the artwork.
"I always say, when one door closes, another door opens," Carolyn concluded. "I'm staying positive. The plus side is that there will be one more pretty store front downtown. I want to make this a cool, hip space. I am hoping that something even better will come of this."