LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Just as many businesses were finally re-opening, fire damage shut down an entire Southern Indiana shopping center.
Tuesday, New Albany Fire crews were called to the 2400 block of State Street just before 8:15 p.m.
“The fire department that was here said if this happened 30 minutes later, when everybody had gone home, it could have been a whole other fire,” Tucker's owner Beau Kerley said.
If it wasn’t for Sun Tan City employees quickly noticing the smoke and the fire department’s four minute response, Beau said the damage could have been worse.
“Smoke started coming out through our duct work and through the top of the roof,” Kerley described Tuesday night. “It was a next-door nail salon that started the fire. We were evacuated, we had several families who were eating dinner at the time.”
Despite the smokey situation, Kerley tried to stay positive as he braced for the damage.
“We just reopened for full service last week,” he said. “So, you know, it’s a little bit of a kick in the pants, but, we’re doing the best we can.”
Wednesday, he said, was a different story.
“I was more positive last night. I didn’t think it was going to be that bad, but when I got here today and I smelled it and I saw the damage in the daylight,” Kerley said.
No one was hurt and only a few businesses right around the nail salon were visibly damaged, but the smoke still has everyone closed.
“What’s really tough about this is that most of the damage isn’t visible,” Kerley said.
He said he’s looking at upwards of $75,000 worth of damage, not counting all the food.
The chemicals in the salon made it an atypical fire.
“It’s not something comfortable in a restaurant,” Kerley said. “People have breathing issues and asthma. An employee had a seizure last night due to all the fumes and it’s like, we just can’t take that lightly.”
Kerley said the employee is doing fine, but he has to to close again for another couple weeks, and he’s worried for his staff who just got off of unemployment.
“I know it’s a story. I know it’s a name: Tucker’s. But Tucker’s has 70 employees and that’s the people who are getting yo-yoed around here,” he said.
He hopes lost wages will be covered by insurance. If not, he’s looking for ways to help his staff out and encourages people to check their Facebook page for updates.