Country Quilts, Trotting Fox Boutique suffered smoke damage from fire at Mexican restaurant
Firefighters respond to a structure fire at Las Palmas Mexican Cuisine in Jacksonville Sept. 27. Two other businesses adjoining the restaurant, Country Quilts and Trotting Fox Boutique, are closed from smoke damage related to the fire. [Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune]
Two women-owned Jacksonville businesses damaged in a fire last week at Las Palmas Mexican Cuisine still don’t have any estimates from insurance adjusters, and their owners are not sure when they will reopen.
Debbie Carruthers, owner of Country Quilts, and Helena Lopez, owner of Trotting Fox Boutique, said Monday the insides of their businesses, both located on California Street, smell like smoke, and many of their products might not be salvageable.
“It’s really bad; it’s very strong,” Carruthers said. “I can’t just go in; I have to be able to have a mask on to walk through it.”
Las Palmas, which adjoins Country Quilts on California Street, reported the fire began in the restaurant early Sept. 27. Crews from Jackson County Fire District 3 and Medford Fire Department joined Jacksonville firefighters to extinguish the fire.
The cause of the blaze was not immediately known, and Wayne Painter, Jacksonville fire chief, said Monday morning he had not received a report on it from the state fire marshal.
Carruthers took ownership of Country Quits several years ago from her mother — founder of the business 35 years ago.
She called the smoke damage “overwhelming” due to Country Quilts’ inventory of 800 American-made quilts and 200 rolls of fabric.
“It’s probably all in trouble,” Carruthers said.
Carruthers said she still hopes to send some unfinished pieces that were in zip-close bags to customers who had requested them.
“I wanted to see how many of them have smoke damage, but so far, they’re good,” she said.
While Carruthers is not confident the smoke can be removed from her quilts, crews might be able to rid the stretch from the building’s interior if inventory is removed, she said.
To her customers, Carruthers pledged reopening at some point.
“We are trying to get everything cleaned up and cleaned out,” she said. “Anyone’s quilts that are at the store will all be taken care of. My mom’s heart is in this store, and I want to go on. It’s just going to take time.”
Lopez, meanwhile, does not know what the future of Trotting Fox Boutique will be. She opened her business — a men’s and women’s clothing store — last year and has been in the California Street property even less time than that.
“Everything has been exposed to smoke, and I (will) not be able to operate the business until I know what to do next,” Lopez said. “I am waiting for insurance to tell me what needs to be done.”
She hopes insurance might be able to cover the loss from not being able to sell smoke-damaged clothes.
“It’’s kind of a domino effect,” Lopez said. “I won’t be able to order enough of my winter supply. … I’m missing, now, the time that people buy their fall clothing. So, there’s a lot involved; it’s not just the smoke.”
Reach reporter Kevin Opsahl at 541-776-4476 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @KevJourno.