YAKIMA, Wash. — The owners of two popular local businesses spent Wednesday in a state of disbelief after an early morning fire caused by spontaneous ignition resulted in $1.2 million worth of damage.
“You’re just numb,” said Leslie Paddock, owner and operator of Geppetto’s Italian Bistro with her husband, Richard Paddock.
Traces of vegetable oil on some cleaning rags that had been washed and dried in a clothes dryer ignited after they were removed from the dryer and placed in a bag, according to a news release from the Yakima Fire Department.
The Shopkeeper, an upscale home decor store, also housed in the building at 3105 Summitview Ave., was damaged by smoke and water.
An entity called DCR Real Estate III Sub I LLC owns the building, according to the Yakima County Assessor’s Office.
Leslie Paddock occasionally shed tears as she watched firefighters assess the damage, taking some comfort from familes and friends who stopped by as word of the fire spread.
“People have been really great,” she said.
The fire destroyed 20 percent of the structure and the remainder had smoke and heat damage, firefighters said.
The business owners are determining what it will take to recover. Joe Simon, owner of The Shopkeeper, arrived on the scene after the fire call came in at 12:34 a.m. and stayed on-site for several hours.
As to how long it would take to repair the damage to his store: “I have no idea, to be perfectly honest,” he said.
Richard Paddock was also unsure when his business would reopen and hopes the closure won’t hurt customer loyalty.
“It will take some time to put it together,” he said. “We hope we did a good job so they will return.”
The fire, which began near the rear of the building, caused a portion of the roof to collapse. The blaze was contained to the rear.
Firefighters from four neighboring departments responded to assist the Yakima firefighters: Union Gap, West Valley, Yakima Training Center and East Valley.
According to a news release from the Yakima Fire Department, the building owner received a call that an alarm had sounded inside. He arrived and smelled smoke, and the rear door was hot to the touch, prompting him to call 911, the release said.
Firefighters found heavy black smoke coming from all sides of the building and from the roof.
There were no injuries.