Business owners speak out after 2nd large warehouse fire in South Bend
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) – Sunday’s fire the in the 1800 block of Franklin Street in South Bend was the second large warehouse fire in the city in back-to-back weeks.
“A very personal friend called me and said, ‘Hey, David, I think your building is on fire,’” business owner David Wauri said.
Wauri rented out space at a warehouse on the corner of Franklin Street and Calvert Street in South Bend in order to store furniture for his business.
On Sunday night, the warehouse and everything inside caught fire. Now, officials are ruling everything inside the warehouse a total loss.
Despite that, Wauri says he was able to hold onto one thing: faith.
“When this happened to me now and I am the victim, I felt that this is the time where now my faith is being tested, and I have to be strong,” he said.
Also trying to stay strong is Fun F/X owner Victor Cao, whose business burnt down just over a week ago nearly 1 mile away.
“It’s 30 years of my life, it’s 30 years of something I really enjoyed in working with customers and helping people,” Cao said.
Officials have yet to determine how the fire started at Fun F/X and say even if they do find out, it might be too late.
“For me it’s certainly the worst time possible, just before setting up for Halloween season. I couldn’t have imagined a worse time,” Cao said.
Two weeks, two warehouses, two fires, both ruled total losses.
That leaves both Wauri and Cao to answer one question: What happens now?
“What do I do? I don’t know, I’ll just be faithful,” Wauri said.
“Right now, it’s still up in the air. Obviously, the building isn’t salvageable, and I don’t think any of the merchandise that might have survived is salvageable. I’m on a holding pattern to see what direction everything goes,” Cao said.
Wauri says the merchandise lost in the fire was only half of his inventory. The other half is stored at a different location.
He did not have insurance.
As for Cao, he says the future of Fun F/X relies on what kind of return he gets from his insurance company.