On Monday Feb 10th we got a phone call no business owner ever wants to get. At 7:15am 911 dispatch called to let us know our business was on fire. The Elizabethton Fire Department was amazing and put the fire out very quickly preventing a total loss. The fire was started outside the back door to our production facility with evidence to suggest arson. Possible suspects have been identified by the police department and this is still under investigation. Thankfully our retail store front (immediately next door) was unaffected and remains open.
The fire started at the rear door, completely burned the overhang, entered the electrical room, and entered the rear of the building, burning out the doors and damaging the roof. Fortunately the rest of the shop has primarily smoke and water damage. However, it is enough overall damage to warrant a structural engineer, electrician, investigator, and a contractor to assess and appraise damages.
Preliminary estimates to get the building back up and running are staggering… especially with loss/damage to the electrical system for the entire building. The building is insured, but at this point all we know is that our candle production is a little slower than normal until the building is repaired enough to pass inspection for structural and electrical integrity.
The Next Steps
Many of our wonderful friends, facebook followers, and customers have asked how they can help as we try to recover from this event. While insurance may be able to repair structural damage, product damage, etc., they do not cover the loss we incur when our production is at a standstill. We are looking at an unknown amount of time before our production space will be repaired and fully operational again. We are asking for help to get us back up and running making our candles. We will need capital to cover losses and potentially short term rent of another space to keep the candle business operational while we rebuild. Please keep us in your prayers as we work through this. We truly appreciate all of your support and encouragement. God has a purpose in every event in our lives, and we are trusting Him to “work all things together for good.” We will keep you updated via facebook and this page of updates as they occur. In the mean time if you would like, or are able to donate, you can do so here:
March 2020 Update
So, the demolition process has started. We learned that soot is corrosive when it comes in contact with electrical wiring. Most of our paneling was on the rear of the building, so the entire electric system has to be replaced. So far we have one working plug. (yay!)
We received a smoke cleaning bill of $16,000. But we thought to ourselves, would it be better to clean, insulate, and encapsulate…or just clean? We will be adding plastic, insulation, and metal sheeting to the roof and walls of the building. The “room on wheels” in this photo was our candle cooling room. We will add new insulation to it once the cleaning has been done.
Continue to pray for us as we make hard decisions and try to stretch every dime to make this project possible.
April 2020 Update
April had the potential to be a slow month, but we decided to keep busy and make progress on the building. The entire inside is now encapsulated, insulated, and has new steel on the walls and ceiling. Electrical plugs and LED lighting has been installed. We are now working on organizing everything so we can double the size of the retail space of our store at 208 W. Elk Ave.
But as nice as the inside looks, the outside still needs to be repaired. The rear of the building had a storage area that was badly damaged by the smoke and fire. It has now been demolished, but we decided to find a creative use for the concrete block that was torn down.
In the retail building, the middle room has had water issues under the floor so we decided to concrete it. This is the room we have a question about (see survey below). Since all production, shipping and receiving will be moved to the “fire” building, what would you like to see us do with this additional square footage in the retail building?
We will keep a list of amazing people here who have considerably helped us overcome large obstacles in case you ever have a similar situation in the Tri-Cities.
Amazing Insurance Provider: Farm Bureau Insurance of Tennessee
Amazing Survey Specialist: McCoy Land Survey
Great Electrician: Kinetic Electric
Affordable and Quality Sheet Metal: Classic Metals