After fire, café and gallery open, hobby shop closed


News staff writer

October 14, 2006

Customers hovered over the wealth of choices at South Bank Kitchen Thursday at noon.

The restaurant was back to business almost immediately after a fire in a neighboring business a week ago as evident from the lunch rush.

“We served s’mores during First Friday because we always do some giveaway and we felt that was appropriate given the situation,” said owner Lindsay Gott. “It smelled like a campfire in here so we thought, ‘Why not s’mores?’”

She referred to the smoky atmosphere a week ago following a fire downstairs in the neighboring business Hobbies and More.

She said she tried to make the best of the situation given that firefighters had to break in during the early morning hours because of smoke billowing from the building.

“I got here about five minutes after they called me so it must have been 2:30 in the morning,” she said. “I owe the fire department a big thank-you. They were in charge, came up, totally assessed the situation and took care of it. I felt we were in good hands.”

Despite the incident, both Gott and Frame Gallery owner Rupert Webb want to let people know they are still open for business.

“There is still a smoke smell up here but it is business as usual,” said Webb.

Light sparkled through glass artworks hung in the windows as Webb talked about the minimal impact the fire had on his business.

“The gallery is very unaffected and we’re airing our shop out,” Webb said.

He said his workshop space at the Frame Gallery is unusable for now but that hasn’t hurt him either because he has a secondary workshop at home.

Both business owners said they mostly had smoke damage to their businesses. The business downstairs, Hobbies and More, was the most heavily affected. It is closed for an indefinite period although building owner Chuck Beardsley said he was doing all he could to get the remodel work going.

“At this point, we’re still waiting on estimates from contractors but I’m going to do everything I can to get him open again as soon as possible,” Beardsley said.

John Frick is the owner of Hobbies and More. The message on his answering machine for the business said that he while he is not selling retail out of the location for now, he is still picking up and delivering special orders for customers.

“Thank you for your time and bearing with me in the time to come,” he said on the message.

Hood River Fire Chief Jeff Walker and insurance investigators were on the fire scene Monday. Walker said the initial cause of the fire appeared to be electrical, specifically an extension cord.

The Hood River Fire Department called on mutual aid from the fire departments at West Side, Pine Grove, Odell, Parkdale and Cascade Locks due to the three-alarm status of the blaze.

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