Officials uncertain on what started fire
By ADAM RUDNICK
Arlington Times Reporter
November 10, 2009 · 11:57 AM
SMOKEY POINT — Business and building owners and are still reeling from a fire that swept through a commercial space early Monday, Nov. 2.
Five businesses, as well as two unused commercial spaces, were either completely destroyed or damaged in a two-alarm fire in Smokey Point Plaza in the 3400 block of 172nd Street NE.
Investigators have yet to determine the cause of the fire, but estimate that the fire did more than $1 million in damages.
The blaze ravaged Smokey Point Pawn Shop, #1 Teriyaki, Big Foot Music, and Loans 4 You in the building’s east end. A fifth business — H & R Block — also suffered damage.
Approximately 5,000-square-feet of retail space was affected, said Chris Badger, Arlington Fire Department spokeswoman.
The nearly 24,000-square-foot building was constructed in 1985.
Plaza co-owner Jeff Clark of Clark Properties II LLC said on Nov. 3 that he does not know what the future of the building will be.
“It’s very much a waiting game,” Clark said. “We’re trying to move two businesses into temporary space.”
He said he did not know whether the entire building could be salvaged or whether it will have to be rebuilt. The building is home to 13 businesses.
He said he may not know for months what the long-term implications of the fire would be.
Clark was on site Tuesday, Nov. 3, as fire crews and officials sifted through the smoldering building during their investigation.
Officials from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as crews from the Arlington and Marysville fire departments, Fire District 19 and North County Fire/EMS spent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday working at the retail building clearing wreckage.
As fire crews sorted remaining wreckage, business owners were also unsure of what the future may hold for their businesses.
Smokey Point Pawn Shop owners Jennifer Whitaker and her mother, Soun Yang, said they had been in business for 16 years and were not sure what they will do next.
“We’re sorry for our customers,” Whitaker said. “We have no choice but to wait.”
Deric Dobesh, owner of Big Foot Music, said that he has been working with the building’s landlord to try to move into one of the plaza’s empty spaces that suffered minor damage in the fire.
“Since (the fire) we’ve been playing the waiting game trying to get in there,” Dobesh said about his store. “We’ve been making calls to our insurance and we’re pretty well covered.”
Loans 4 You owner Penny Noble said that she was out of town when she heard the news from her husband.
She said she was able to salvage most of her business files, which were located in metal filing cabinets, but said the loss is devastating.
“It’s too early to know about the future,” Noble said. “Everything is being directed to the Shelton office. It’s up in the air right now.”
Two currently unoccupied commercial spaces suffered minor damage in the fire. Clark said that there’s a chance that two of the affected businesses may be able to re-locate in those unused spaces.
Fire crews and emergency personnel responded to a burglar alarm at the building at about 3:20 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 2.
Crews initially shut off power and gas to the building’s tenants as they extinguished the fire, which took crews about an hour to put out, Badger said.
Fire crews reportedly heard what sounded like ammunition going off inside the pawn shop when the fire was at its peak, causing federal ATF authorities to respond.
More than 60 personnel from the various local, county and federal agencies were on hand during the fire.
Smokey Point Plaza had recently undergone renovations. About one year ago, owners of the building had erected a new facade and made other improvements.
According to the Snohomish County Assessor’s Office, the building and property was valued at approximately $2.8 million in 2008.
If residents have any information about the cause of the fire, they are encouraged to call the Arlington Police at 360-403-3400.Contact Arlington Times Reporter Adam Rudnick at email@example.com or 360-659-1300 Ext. 5056.