Shop owners frustrated after fire nearby shuts down businesses
After nearly four days of being shut down to traffic, the closed section of North Washington Street in North Attleboro has finally been reopened, unfortunately, the businesses that were spared by Friday night's massive fire can't say the same.
After all they have been through since the blaze, they're anxious to get back into work to make some money.
"We all have the same concerns, that we're all missing out on business," says 30-year-old Kelly Roccabello.
Roccabello has owned the Innovative Styles salon on North Washington Street for nine years. But when fire broke out in the building right next door during a huge snow storm on Friday night, she nearly lost it all.
Thanks to an effective fire wall, her business was actually spared. "I appreciate all of the first responders, the police department, the fire department, for everything they did, because they did save our building," Roccabello said.
But because the burned out, collapsed building is so close to her salon, Kelly and her staff are still unable to get in to work, and answers from North Attleboro officials as to when Innovative Styles and other businesses nearby can reopen, have been hard to come by.
"I'm just frustrated because with a business like a salon, I need to be able to call my clients to say, 'Okay, you can make an appointment here tomorrow,' or 'We're not going to be open 'til next Tuesday, we'll accommodate you then,' I need a definite answer, a definite day, because otherwise people are going to start going somewhere else (to have their hair done)."
North Attleboro fire officials say they're working as fast as they can to get everyone on North Washington Street back up and running.
North Attleboro Capt. Jack White said, "We totally understand their frustration! They're trying to be a small business, trying to make it in a tough economy, trying to get open, trying to schedule people, we feel for them, but nobody's been hurt so far, we don't want anyone getting hurt now. It's purely a safety issue. We just need to remove the firewall, and get the engineers in there to inspect it again. They'll be out there again first thing in the morning to finish the work."
Roccabello appreciates all that North Attleboro is doing to expedite the process, and officially reopen the nearby businesses.
"I'd just like a definite answer of when we're going to open, and I know I speak for pretty much everyone on the street, I'm sure when I say that," she said.
And even though she's out of work herself, Roccabello is doing what she can through a website called 'Fundly' to help Kontempo Kutz, the salon next door that lost everything in the fire.
And so far, it seems as if the community is also rallying around Kontempo Kutz.
In just one and a half days, the website has raised close to $2,000 for the cause.
"I set up a fundraiser to raise money for the girls that work there (at Kontempo Kutz) to buy new hairdressing equipment because I don't think people realize how much it costs to get started. It's just like a mechanics' auto tools, it's very expensive. And right now none of them have any tools to even begin working somewhere, even if they wanted to."
Fire Captain White told NBC10 the department will contact with each of the landlords that own buildings where the still closed businesses are housed.
White says if business owners have any questions about the timeline for reopening their North Washington Street storefront, they should contact their landlord.
To donate and help Kontempo Kutz Click Here