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Smoke screen 

To the editor,

I would like to set the record straight concerning the Pizza Corner fire at the KOD on October 27, as mentioned last week in Shop Talk ("Where there's smoke"). I live above the pizza shop along with three other people and we're a little sick of everybody getting the story wrong.

TC Demaresq's Shop Talk (yes, I realize Shop Talk is not an investigative column) piece in the November 10 Coast quotes a KOD employee saying that there was no fire—just a "smouldering mess." This employee obviously was not there at the time of the fire (no KOD employees or owners were) because if he was he would have seen the same flames I did. And if he'd looked up at the shop's ceiling he would have seen the joists and floorboards of the apartment above charred by those flames. Or maybe he was off while workers were in the shop re-building the floor of the apartment above. The article also states that the fire was caused by "an 'electrical fault' in the building."

Various television news reports stated that it was caused by the tenants upstairs or inferred blame on the landlord for faulty wiring. The fire investigator's official ruling for the cause of the fire was a neon sign transformer mounted on the ceiling in the pizza shop.

It's too bad fire burns upward because while KOD re-opened for business that same night, we had to move out for four days, and two and a half weeks later we're still living in a mess with lots of work left to do. Our bedroom walls were axed in and hosed down, and the floor above the shop is black with smoke stains. Everything must be washed or steamed to get the smoke out of it and there's dust everywhere. But what really pisses us all off is KOD's refusal to take any responsibility for the fire—all the owner offered for our losses was a bottle of carpet freshener to help with the smoke smell. Although to his credit he did pay to repair the section of roof the firefighters cut out with a chainsaw.

Jaime, Zach, Matt and I would like to thank the dude who called the fire department on his cell, and especially the guy who first walked by and noticed the fire. He rang our doorbells about 6,000 times until Matt woke up and realized he was in a room full of smoke and his floor was sizzling and crackling beneath him. We've got some beers here for you guys since you saved all of our belongings and possibly our lives—or at least Matt's anyway. Another 20 minutes or so and he would certainly have died in his sleep of smoke inhalation. But as the employee's quote in the Shop Talk article says, "It wasn't a big deal."

By Andre Samson


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