NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – More than a dozen business owners have been working to salvage whatever they can after a fire ripped through an office building on Tuesday night in North Nashville.
The building that housed everything from beauty salons to law offices is nearly a total loss, according to owner Hani Alkifi. The fire was started by a wax machine that was left unattended and overheated in the front room.
The flames ripped through the building, destroying the roof, walls and floors in the process. Firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading across the entire structure, but Alkifi said there is significant water and smoke damage throughout.
“There was more damage than I expected, but it wasn’t a total loss,” Alkifi said. “Hopefully we start working back on things and try to get things restored as soon as we can.”
There was a string of business owners coming to the building Wednesday morning to collect anything that wasn’t damaged or destroyed in the fire.
Lawyer M. Oliver Osemwegie said she was shocked to see the damage when she pulled up for work because no one had told her about the fire.
“The first thing that came to my mind was what’s going on in my office,” Osemwegie said. “I’m not really sure where I am going from here. I’ll most likely be working out of my house right now.”
Osemwegie spent the day working with her daughter to clean out files and other important items from her office. She said they are lucky to only have a small amount of water and smoke damage that did not touch most of her office space.
“At least I was able to salvage a lot of things and be able to use,” Osemwegie said. “And not have to replace like some of them will probably have to.”
Other people were not as lucky. Much of the upstairs was destroyed in the fire. Walls were left charred with paint blistering off.
Boards have been put over the broken-out windows, and crews were brought in to begin sweeping up the debris scattered across the parking lot.
Alkifi said he is committed to rebuilding and has begun to offer up other vacant parts of the shopping mall to businesses until the work is complete.
“We’ve just got to go through it and try to repair everything and get back to normal,” Alkifi said.
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