Fire leaves mostly smoke damage

MARSHALL – A tropical aroma wafted inside Southwest Nutrition in downtown Marshall early Tuesday morning – a stark contrast to the stench a late-night fire just hours earlier left behind in areas on either side of the business.

The Monday night fire that started in the back of the old Main Street Stylists building left mostly smoke damage there and in the Rycan building next door that sits on the intersection of 3rd and Main streets. The buildings are connected, and smoke can travel from one to the other in the basements.

“It drifted underneath the buildings,” said Ryan Ellefson, owner of Rycan, a healthcare software writing business. “The buildings are connected with a crawl space for the sewer system.”

Rycan also has office space across the street.

Rycan had some smoke damage and, like over at The Daily Grind, still carried the lingering smell of smoke Tuesday.

“I couldn’t really see the smoke,” Ellefson said, “but you could smell it.”

There were no injuries.

Ellefson said it was Rycan’s fire detection system that alerted the Marshall Fire Department about 10:15 p.m. Monday.

“The fire department took it from there,” he said. “No one was hurt, and the fact that it got detected so quick they said if it hadn’t got detected so quick it could’ve gotten bad.”

Marshall Fire Chief Marc Klaith said had it not been for that detection system, firefighters might have had something much bigger on their hands late Monday night since the buildings are all connected and rather old.

“Some of these buildings are over 100 years old, and there’s really no fire stops in-between the buildings, so it could’ve jumped from building to building,” he said. “We’re very lucky. If that system wouldn’t have went off we could’ve had some major problems on Main Street.”

Klaith said the cause of the fire is under investigation, but it doesn’t look suspicious. He said the state fire marshal has been contacted.

On the other side of the old Main Street Stylists space at The Daily Grind, the front and back doors were propped open Tuesday morning, and a fan was running on high to help escort the smoky smell out.

“There was a lot of smoke; the fire started in the back room next door,” said Scott Wyatt, The Daily Grind owner Roberta Wyatt’s brother. “Next door” is where most of the damage took place and where firefighters seemed to have concentrated their efforts Monday night.

“And they just finished a remodel project; they blew in insulation yesterday (Monday),” Scott Wyatt said of the building.

“The building (the old Main Street Stylists building) was full of smoke when we arrived,” Marshall Assistant Fire Chief Tim DeSaer told the Independent on Monday night. “When we got inside it flared up on us, but we were able to suppress it.”

Roberta Wyatt said she is closed down for the time being and is waiting to hear from the health department.

“Right now, it’s very smoky,” she said. “We had a lot of stuff on the counters and in pastry cases, and our coffee bins are not air tight, so we’ll have to get rid of some stuff.”

Wyatt, who gave cookies to the firefighters Monday night, also said since the power got turned off during the fire, her freezers went down for an undetermined amount of time.

Wyatt doesn’t know when her coffee shop will open again. She said the air conditioning unit was on Monday night, and it’s adjacent to where firefighters were fighting the fire, so smoke got pulled into the building.

She said smoke also got into some storage below the store.

Inside Southwest Nutrition’s brightly-colored office, employee Amy DeVos and her fellow workers broke from their daily morning routine Tuesday to clean things up.

“Just smoke,” she said of the damage there. “Can’t see anything, you can just smell it around us. We have our air fresheners going. We’re just tryin’ to get the smell out because we make (health) shakes here. Don’t really want it to affect that. (The fire) was literally right there, on the other side of the wall, so it’s kind of scary.”