Displaced Vendors Regroup from Fire Aftermath
The tenants of Knot On Main Street begin the painful rebuilding process one week after the costly blaze
Windows and doors, which had either been shattered by the heat or blasted away by fire hoses, are now boarded up and posted with signs warning people to keep away from the dangerous site.
Charred rugs and soot-stained pieces of furniture lay discarded in front of the building as a reminder of the inferno that blazed inside.
“It’s smelled real bad in here since the fire,” Susan Dean, owner of the adjoining Find Your Peace collectibles shop, said on Monday. “I’ve been using air fresheners, coffee grounds and even ammonia to help get rid of the smell.”
The blaze, deemed electrical in nature, caused $150,000 in structural damages and displaced about 60 vendors. Most had no insurance to cover their losses.
Vendors began the painful process of moving forward over the weekend. They could be seen by driversby on Bayshore Boulevard salvaging what they could from the waterlogged wreckage.
Sabrina Tropf, a Clearwater artist who creates designer greeting cards, delivered a load of inventory to her booth the day before the fire. Although most of her materials suffered minor smoke and water damage, much of it had to be scrapped.
“I threw out all the shoes I had, all the books I had, and all the artwork immediately. I brought things home with me that I wanted to try and salvage, but some of it I ended up throwing out when I got here because I realized I couldn’t.”
Tropf is determined to put the best face on the situation. She is leading efforts to organize a yard sale for displaced vendors looking to recoup losses.
“I was thinking as I was driving back there, 'I’m going to have a garage sale, and I’m going to call it the Knot On Fire Sale',” she said. “I want everybody to try and be a part of it if they want to.”
So far she hasn’t received a lot of response other vendors, but she knows it’s hard to pick up the pieces after such devastation.
“Everyone lost,” she said.
Property owner Bob O’Connell said he plans to reopen the mall.
“We hope to reopen it, but I have no idea how long it will take. They’re cleaning it out now,” he said.
He offered little else for comment before quickly returned to his work next door at Dunedin Auto Sales.
Knot On Fire Sale
- When: Saturday, June 18, 9 a.m.,
- Where: 804 Bruce Ave., Clearwater Beach
- Vendors looking to participate can visit the Knot On Main Street Facebook page.