Owners get first look inside burned out businesses

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by JIM FORMAN / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on December 27, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Updated Saturday, Dec 28 at 9:18 AM

The Seattle Fire Marshal made it clear to business owners in the burned out Chinatown landmark, time was not on their side.

"Right now we are trying to do the emergent things, things that are critical to your business," he said.

And so began a real life game of beat the clock for the tenants of the 104-year-old building.

"So you two guys go ahead, you've got an hour," the Fire Marshal barked. Others only had five minutes to decide what to salvage.

"We had a mini disaster here, but we are still strong," said a member of the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce.

With the structural integrity of the building still in doubt other members scrambled to save the organization’s hand carved sign.

 "Everyone is going to hurt for a bit," said a representative of the chamber,. "But the spirit is strong and we are going to come back."

At the Mon Hei Bakery, Tuesday's pastries still sit in the cases. Left behind when the fire started, and everyone in the three-story building scrambled to safety.

Everyone escaped the Christmas Eve fire that tore through the building that has a notorious history.

Aaron Chan would be the third generation to run the bakery. His parents now are faced with a tough decision.

"My parents are really resilient," Chan said. "They are thinking about starting over again."

Thinking of starting over when they should be thinking of passing the bakery on to the next generation.

By Friday afternoon, investigators seemed no closer to finding the cause of the fire. Structural engineers have not been allowed in to do a complete survey. The building may have to come down.

Mayor Elect Ed Murray visited the scene and vowed to help businesses get back on their feet and preserve the historic nature of one of the nation’s oldest Chinatowns.

 

 

 

 

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