Insurance delaying cleanup after café fire - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Insurance delaying cleanup after café fire

(Source: WMC Chopper 5) (Source: WMC Chopper 5)
(Source: WMC Chopper 5) (Source: WMC Chopper 5)
(Source: WMC Chopper 5) (Source: WMC Chopper 5)

An insurance investigation is delaying cleanup efforts after fire leveled a Midtown café more than two weeks ago.
Shelby County officials said the insurance company wants to complete its own inquiry into the cause of the August 9 fire, which destroyed Smooth Moves Juice Bar and damaged neighboring Happy Day Laundry & Cleaners.

A pile of charred debris is still spread across the lot at the corner of Union Avenue and Rozelle Street. The site remains unsecured, and a number of people have been seen combing the rubble for scrap metal and other materials.

Shelby County Code Enforcement has received complaints from neighbors who consider the fire scene an eyesore and safety hazard, according to emails shared with WMC Action News 5.

Officials said they spoke Wednesday with the property management company and were told the insurance carrier is still investigating the fire.

Memphis Fire Department investigators believe the blaze originated in a laundry processing area in the rear of the building, but have not said how it started.

The fire caused an estimated $145,000 in damage to the cleaners, while the café suffered an estimated $55,000 in damage and was torn down within hours of the blaze.

The management company also told the county that structural engineers are examining the site, looking for a way to fix the roof of the cleaners and a shared wall that was damaged.

Management said a fence company had been contracted to block off the remaining debris, but no fence was present as of Thursday afternoon.

Inspectors also consider the site contaminated because of debris from the dry cleaning business and contractors doing cleanup will have to meet federal safety guidelines.  
The fire was the second for the café in only two months. The business suffered more than $100,000 in damage in June after a fire blamed on faulty wiring in the attic.

The café was shuttered and never reopened.

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