Thursday, February 15, 2001

Furniture store destroyed

By David Eck
Enquirer Contributor

[photo] Firefighters recharge oxygen tanks as they battle a blaze at the Naked Furniture store in Springdale.
(Dick Swaim photos)
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        SPRINGDALE — Standing outside his Naked Furniture store Wednesday, David Forrester watched smoke and 20 years of work billow into the cloudy morning sky.

        “I'm waiting to see the silver lining,” he said. "I'm just going to have to deal with a lot of challenges to get to that spot.”

        The stubborn blaze destroyed Mr. Forrester's store at 12117 Princeton Pike, but a fire wall minimized damage to Snookers' Billiards and Sports Cafe, which shares the building.

        There were no injuries. The cause remained under investigation and damage could top $250,000, Assistant Fire Chief Dan Shroy er said.

        Firefighters from four departments were called about 8 a.m. and found fire shooting through the roof.

        “There was a lot more fire inside than what it looked like from out here,” Mr. Shroyer said. “It was just a building full of fire.”

[photo] Firefighters pour water on the blaze from above.
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        Crews had a tough time because wooden furniture fueled the fire.

        The blaze closed Ohio 747 for about three hours, snarling traffic in the busy corridor.

        As firefighters extinguished hot spots from an aerial ladder and pulled charred furniture from the building, Mr. Forrester pondered his future.

        “I'm sure it's totaled. You can't sell smoke (exposed) furniture,” Mr. Forrester said.

        His records are stored off site, and refunds for customer orders can be tracked. He has owned the business since 1982, but the building is leased.

        The store employs 10 full- and part-time people, including two of Mr. Forrester's sons. Their future is uncertain, he said.

        The billiards hall received light damage.

        “We could actually play pool in there right now if it weren't for the smoke,” Snookers' co-owner Bill Nolan said.

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