A early morning fire at Superwash's Gibbs Corner and West Avenue location destroyed the roof of that building and crippled the business for what is expected to be months, according to Superwash President Dionisio D'Aguilar.
The fire, which started sometime around 2:45 a.m., also threw into limbo plans to construct another Superwash to replace the current 42-year-old Gibbs Corner building, D'Aguilar added.
Fire officials said the blaze was completedly extinguished by 4 a.m. However, by that time the roof was already destroyed.
D'Aguilar said the remaining parts of the building sustained minimal damage and the equipment inside suffered water damage.
He said it's too early to put a dollar value on what it will cost to repair the damage, adding he is still unsure whether the roof will be repaired at all.
The fire comes as Superwash was preparing to move that business to an adjacent property which was purchased by the laundry chain. D'Aguilar said that location is about a year from being complete.
"Superwash was working very closely with Jackson Burnside Limited for a design of the location. We were drawing up the construction document to build a new location. When that building was completed the intention was to demolish the existing location and create parking.
"I have to make a financial decision, if to repair this knowing that we now only have that building for ten more months before we
construct, then build and put into operation a new one. It has thrown me into a bit of a quandary. The new building is probably a year away by the time you get planning permission," D'Aguilar said.
He added that the location is critical to that community.
"We have to run the math and see what our monthly sales are," he explained.
At the time the fire started one employee was in the building along with a customer.
D'Aguilar said the employee was unaware that the building was on fire.
"A passerby noticed that the roof was on fire, stopped, went to the door and shook the door to warn the employee that the building was on fire.
"At first she didn't even believe him. She thought he was trying to break into the place. Then she saw smoke coming through the ceiling," he added.
As for the employees, D'Aguilar said they will be rotated into the other nine locations.
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