The fire that destroyed the Rose Hill Village on the morning of Sept. 12 left seven local businesses without a retail space and left Decks and Spas with nothing but ash to salvage.
Decks and Spas is a family-owned business that has served locals for the past 23 years, selling hot tubs, decks and swim spas. The business was covered by insurance, but the owner, Dan Barghelame and his father, Si, estimate the insurance will only cover about half of the damages.
“There was total annihilation… we’ve just got to wipe the slate clean and start over again, start building,” Dan Barghelame said. “It’s a trying time.”
Decks and Spas had been at the Kirkland location, 12657 NE 85th St., for the past five years after moving from Redmond. The fire destroyed their retail space with a showroom containing about 20 hot tubs.
“Not only that, we lost customer files. We’re a small business, we don’t have all our accounting stuff in the cloud so we lost all of our records too,” Barghelame said. “[There was] absolutely nothing, not even a ball point pen.”
The fire started in the early morning of Sept. 12. Kirkland firefighters were on the scene at about 3 a.m. and worked to control the chaotic blaze before calling on several other departments for assistance and resources.
Two Kirkland firefighters experienced minor injuries but were treated on the scene and returned to work. Several business owners watched as firefighters monitored the ruined building for smoldering hot spots.
Barghelame plans to completely rebuild the business and the community is rallying around him. Quickly after the fire, Rachel Katharine started a GoFundMe campaign titled, “Help Decks and Spas Rebuild!”
“I think the community outreach is awesome, I think it’s great that our community recognizes and embraces local business,” deputy chief Dave Van Valkenburg said. “Having those businesses no longer be part of our community is a loss for our community, it’s a loss for the city.”
The campaign raised $840 for its $100,000 within the first day and within a week, 105 people have donated $17,215 to help rebuild Decks and Spas.
“The showing of support and the amount of phone calls, texts and emails that I’ve gotten is just heartwarming,” Barghelame said. “A whole bunch of customers are looking for new retail spaces for us and are going to help us move… It means a lot actually, it really does.”
Barghelame added that Decks and Spas had numerous orders and deliveries to complete prior to the fire, but customers have been gracious that those orders may go unfulfilled for a time.
“That part is as good as can be,” Barghelame said. “People are all being really patient and understanding.”
The fire is still under investigation as of the Reporter’s Tuesday deadline, but most of the devastation can be blamed on the building’s age and lack of a sprinkler system, Valkenburg said.
“If this had been a fire in a sprinkler building, it might not have been newsworthy because the sprinkler system would have put it out,” Valkenburg said. “It would have been contained to the area of origin and there would have been some water damage… We would be having a completely different narrative of one, maybe two businesses with water damage and the other six being open today.”
The current codes in Kirkland would have required sprinklers to be installed throughout the building, but the building was built before the codes were implemented.
Valkenburg clarified that if the building had added more square footage or had gone through a zoning change, fire codes would have required sprinklers to be added retroactively.
“There are provisions in the code that allow us to require sprinklers retroactively, but they are pretty specific in when we can, ”Valkenburg said. “The Kirkland Fire Department and the city of Kirkland support sprinkler ordinances, we support the fact that sprinklers save lives.”
The Rose Hill Village strip mall fire incinerated Rose Hill Cleaners, Organic juice bar, Crescent Lighting, Crazy Timmy Games, Hot Yoga yoga and a Miller Paint location.
Dozens of firefighters and at least six engines from Bellevue, Redmond, Bothell, Woodinville and Eastside Fire and Rescue worked through dawn for more than four hours to extinguish the fire.
As the ash settles, Barghelame is already taking steps toward rebuilding and the community continues to show support.
“We’ve been at it for 23 years, I don’t have much else to do right now, we’ve been doing this forever [and we’ll] basically rebuild.” Barghelame said. “Our first focus is to take care of our customers who have current orders… and just steamroll ahead. We’ve got to find another retail spot, which we’re actively working on, but hopefully we can get back to where we were at some point.”
The Decks and Spas GoFundMe campaign can be found at www.gofundme.com/help-decks-and-spas-rebuild