WHITING | Two businesses to the east of the building that caught fire Sunday in downtown Whiting are temporarily closed for cleanup after sustaining smoke and water damage.
One of the impacted businesses, Bulldog Brewery, 1409 119th St., hopes to open again by Saturday. A projected reopening for Full Circle Art, which is directly next door to the building that caught fire, was unavailable Tuesday afternoon.
Bulldog Brewery owner Kevin Clark said the basement of the business, where the brewing operation and serving tanks are, took on 10 inches of water.
The restaurant lost all its food when power to the business was cut off and the liquor behind the bar suffered smoke damage, Clark said.
“We are in here right now washing all the walls and wiping the ceiling down and cleaning up all the smoke damage and stuff so it doesn't smell like smoke,” Clark said.
He said the restaurant was full with diners Sunday when it was evacuated.
“When we came back in the next day, all the beer and the food and everything was on the tables,” Clark said.
The owner for Full Circle Art could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday. An apartment above the art store also sustained water and smoke damage, but the tenant was able to retrieve personal belongings.
Tom Dabertin, president of the Whiting-Robertsdale Chamber of Commerce, said the organization will assist the impacted businesses any way it can.
“Certainly we hope the disruption to adjacent businesses is minimal, and it's our understanding it may be a few weeks,” Dabertin said.
The area around the building that caught fire at Sheridan Avenue and 119th Street is still a “danger zone,” Whiting Fire Chief Gus Danielides said.
The exterior walls to the gutted building likely will come down by Friday, Danielides said.
“The building's integrity is in question, so we have to wait for the walls to come down,” Danielides said.
Danielides said once the walls are down, machinery will be used to pick up the wreckage piece by piece until the ground floor is reached. Danielides said the department knows the fire began downstairs in the Lubia's Dresses and Events shop before spreading through the seven apartments.
A cause of the fire was undetermined as of Tuesday. The state fire marshal's office is now involved in the investigation.