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UPDATE: Officials Say Cause of Friday's Fire Most Likely Electrical Failure

By: Violet Ikonomova, Leslie Barrett Email
By: Violet Ikonomova, Leslie Barrett Email

Three of the four businesses affected by a fire on Front Street Friday night have either reopened or are working to reopen soon.

Cleaning, sorting, and compacting items damaged from Friday's fire on the 200 block of Front Street.

"We're pretty much starting from scratch again," said Rob Gilliand, owner of All Pro Nutrition.

The office and storage space on the second floor of All Pro Nutrition is connected by a door to the second floor of the Rags 2 Riches building where the fire started in the ceiling.

A Division of State Fire Marshal spokesman said the cause of the fire is undetermined but most likely started from an electrical failure in the ceiling area.

There is more damage upstairs, but still the owner said he has to get rid of almost all of his products- including what's consumable and what's not. The insurance company is apparently buying the products.

"We're going to fully restock from the ground up and we should be ready to go. So we hope to see all the customers here in a week and a half," said Gilliand. They're planning to reopen Friday, Feb. 25.

Meanwhile next door at Putnam Chocolates, owner Shane Danford had to throw away about 90 pounds of chocolate due to the fire but he's been busy making more sweet and is prepared to reopen Thursday morning.

"Redoing the store, washing down the walls, and getting the carpets cleaned," said Danford.

Teri Ann Pfeffer, owner of Teri Ann's said "It's the water and the smoke that cause so much trouble. We didn't have any smoke so we didn't have anything to clean up. The only thing we had was some of the smell so the machines took care of that."

Since Tuesday, Teri Ann's has been back in business.

"This is a wonderful place to shop and I worry about it seems like there have been a lot of fires lately and I think that's very scary because we want this place to continue," said Candace Jones, a Teri Ann's customer.

Rags 2 Riches Owners Stevie and Jeff Rowley lived above the store.

Stevie didn't want to go on camera but said they lost everything and aren't sure what's going to happen next.

Austyn's which was affected by a separate fire Sunday morning that officials ruled arson, reopened Monday.

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Whether their staffs are dry cleaning, wiping up or scrubbing down, the Front Street stores damaged by two fires this weekend are regrouping.

"We'll all be open soon, and everything will be well again," said Teri Ann Pfeiffer, owner of Teri Ann's.

Down the street, with a fully booked Valentine's day ahead, the staff at Austyn's restaurant worked for eighteen hours straight Sunday, getting the store up to health inspectors' standards after a fire there that morning.

But getting back up and running will be easier for some.

"Teri Ann's was very fortunate in the whole situation and we're going to be clean and ready to open for business tomorrow morning- Tuesday," said Pfeiffer.

Teri Ann's and Putnam Chocolates sustained slight damage in a fire Friday that started in the apartment above Rags to Riches.

The chocolate shop is set to re-open by the end of the week.

Although smoke damage in the two stores was minimal, they say the fire hit on a bad weekend.

"All of the businesses that were impacted by the fire, whether directly or indirectly through the smoke and water damage, you know, this was a good weekend for them to be in business," said Charlotte Keim, President of the Marietta Chamber of Commerce.

And some will miss out on more than a weekend's worth of business: All Pro Nutrition may not reopen for another three weeks.

The staff has to replace shelves upon shelves of merchandise- consumable products that comprise about 95 percent of its stock.

But between floods and fires- it's nothing All Pro owner, Rob Gilland, hasn't dealt with before.

He's just glad the community is on his side.

"It's the support of all the businesses, and our customers, we've had tons and tons of calls, other businesses have offered us other facilities, so with all that support, there's no option to quit," said Gilland.


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