with gallery: Small fire and water from sprinkler systems cause damage to downtown Ann Arbor clothing store
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After a small garbage can fire set off the sprinkler system, Renaissance clothing store owner Roger Pothus said it "sounded like a rainstorm outside of his office."
The result was more dramatic: The entire McKinley Towne Centre in downtown Ann Arbor had to be evacuated Tuesday night, and now Pothus is cleaning up the store and assessing damage.
Pothus said the Ann Arbor Fire Department responded before he even had a chance to call them.
Fire officials arrived at the store at 201 S. Division St. at about 5 p.m., finding the small fire in the store's storage area.
Multiple sprinklers heads had activated due to the fire, which contained the blaze, fire officials said. Firefighters extinguished the fire, then worked to remove smoke and water from the store.
While the entire building was evacuated, neighboring first-floor businesses TCF Bank and Bar Louie did not sustain damage, according to fire officials. Light smoke was reported on upper levels, but Google employees returned to work a short time after firefighters arrived.
No one was injured, but one man was checked by HVA for smoke inhalation.
Firefighters described damage to the store room as "major." They did not immediately identify a cause of the blaze.
Pothus said the rest of the store had more damage done by the sprinkler system than the actual fire. He said he's still figuring out the best way to remedy the water damage to the clothing.
"Some people said 'get the clothes dry cleaned,' but then they're just not the same," he said Tuesday evening.
The immediate goal, according to Pothus, was to get all of the water out of the building, which is owned by McKinley Inc. He said a friend as well as building maintenance people were on-hand to help mop up the water.
Pothus, who opened the store in 1971, said there was no damage to his computer or his inventory files.
"I managed to pull the power cord on my computer," he said.
The cost of damages to the store are yet to be determined, and Pothus said he's also not sure when the store will be back open, but that hopefully it would be soon.