NEW ALBANY — Several New Albany businesses suffered damage in a fire that broke out Tuesday night in a strip mall along State Street.
New Albany Fire Chief Matthew Juliot said the calls came in at around 8:14 p.m. of a fire in the 2400 block of State Street and fire crews arrived around 8:19 p.m.
No injuries were reported, and despite significant damage to the businesses, there was no structural damage to the building, according to Juliot. The crew discovered the fire in Neon Nails, a nail salon, and they noticed small explosions occurring inside the business, likely from the chemicals inside the business.
Fire within the salon burned the roof of that part of the building, and the fire then spread to the neighboring Sun Tan City, whose employees reported the fire.
The nail salon received extensive fire and water damage; there is “pretty much nothing left” of the business, Juliot said.
According to Juliot, the fire was under control within an hour, and the cause of the fire is still under investigation. Sun Tan City had significant smoke and water damage, he said, and it is among the businesses that has temporarily closed due the fire.
Crews with Pro4mance Fire & Water Restoration were at the strip mall Wednesday to treat the fire damage.
The Tucker’s American Favorites restaurant was among the businesses with smoke damage from the fire, and fire crews had to remove parts of the ceiling.
Beau Kerley, co-owner of Tucker’s, told the News and Tribune that the restaurant will be temporarily closed to evaluate damage and make restorations. Staff and customers were safely evacuated from the restaurant when the fire broke out.
“We didn’t have any fire on our side, just a lot of smoke; [firefighters] pulled down some ceiling [in the dining area], some in the kitchen just to make sure,” he said. “They were a little worried that fire had gotten into the foam and was going to spread across the room.”
Kerley said $35,000 worth of new ceilings and flooring had just been installed at the restaurant, which reopened recently for dining after being closed due to state restrictions related to COVID-19.
The restauranteur also was concerned about the loss of food due to the power loss and the strong smell of smoke within the restaurant. It’s tough facing something like this after the challenges of closing amid the pandemic, he said.
“We had just gotten back up, and we needed those sales desperately,” Kerley said. “Here’s another big thing that’s scary for me, because my power’s been off all night — I had all this food I lost the first time that the insurance company didn’t cover because it was pandemic-related, and I re-bought $15,000 to $20,000 worth of product, and now all of a sudden, my coolers were off all night, so we lost it all again, and I don’t know if it’s going to get covered this time. We’ll see how it ends up going.”