Several businesses at a Coeur d’Alene mall were destroyed in a fire over the weekend.
The blaze early Saturday was likely started by a heat cable in a drain pipe, fire department investigator Glenn Lauper told the Coeur d’Alene Press.
Lake City Shoe Repair, 7-11, Beau Monde Exchange, Kids Corners, Pay Day Loans and the former La Petite building suffered an estimated $1 million in damage, officials said.
“It’s sad and left many people jobless,” Lauper said.
No one was injured in the fire, though two firefighters were treated and released after slipping on ice in the parking lot. The icy conditions were made worse by the spraying water from the fire fight.
“It’s the biggest loss this year,” said Lauper of the damage. “We have had an increase in fires in the entire community, not just in Coeur d’Alene, and they’re all weather- and heater-related.”
Pay Day Loans owner Donna Noll said she and her husband, Derrick, put all their savings into the business, but that they didn’t carry liability insurance. Most of the couple’s Christmas presents for their four children were burned in the fire. They had been stored in the back room of the business.
“In my industry, I give away money, and we sometimes we use my husband’s check from his second job. I don’t know … there’s no excuse,” she said.
Brooke Miller, owner of consignment shop Beau Monde Exchange, said she’s glad nobody was hurt.
“I kinda feel at peace about it,” said Miller, who opened the store more than four years ago. “I feel bad for my one employee. It was her first job.”
Miller said she plans to reopen at a different location after insurance matters are settled and those who had consignments and in-store credits get their money.
Lauper said the owner of the mall and its insurance company will conduct an independent investigation into the fire.
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