The fire that ripped through Tanya Gruszecki’s Fabric Store, destroyed her business and 14 others.
“I had everything in there.
Like, I lived at that store, that’s where all my personal stuff was as far as my sewing machines, and my fabric.
That’s what hurts.
The business stuff can be fixed.
It’s just the personal loss.”
Gruszecki is lucky.
But other business owners are not.
“I’ve lost everything, including all my supplies, canvases, my work from the last ten years.”
The fire burned throughout the night, with crews finally gaining control at 5:30 this morning.
At one point, photographer Erik couldn’t believe the force of the fire.
“It was pretty intense.
Thirty or forty foot flames shot out of the side of that building there.”
Built in 1955, the Jean Burns Building is described as the heart of downtown Nanaimo.
Jean Burns ran a Ladies and Children’s Wear Shop at this location for over forty years, and is remembered for the elegant, upscale merchandise and service.
“This was a real hub in the city?”
I mean it was an actively used building.
Lots of businesses operated there, even the Nanaimo Arts Council had a location there.”
That was my Grannie’s store.”
Debbie Dickson had to see the damage to her grand-mother’s building for herself.
She grew up inside the store.
“I have a lot of good memories.
We used to watch the parade, up there in the window up there.
It was the coffee room, all the ladies would have their coffee break.
We’d sit up there and watch the parade come down here.
It was great.”
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
But fundraising for lost businesses is through The Vault Cafe, across from the Jean Burns building.