Sugarcup reopens after fire

Fire Chief: Torch used to melt ice was the cause of the accident

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

Sugarcup Trading, a children's boutique at 110 N. Marion St., will reopen its doors to the public within the next week, after recovering from a roof fire in February.

Sugarcup owner Michelle Vanderlaan said in a telephone interview that the shop, which has been at the location since November 2010, has set a target reopening date of April 5.

She said the shop sells new and curated children's clothing and toys by environmentally conscious brands.

"Parents and families and kids can use cash and dollars or they can also use points," she explained. "These points are generated by trading back in clothing and toys on a brand roster."

She said the business model makes environmentally conscious, mission-driven and international brands affordable and local.

The store has been closed since Feb. 5, when a roof fire caused smoke and water damage to the shop.

"We're happy our sales floor wasn't damaged," she said.

According to Oak Park Fire Chief Tom Ebsen, the department responded to the roof fire at 5:14 p.m. He said someone hired by the owner of the building used a torch to melt ice near the drain area of the roof.

Ebsen said it is not uncommon for the use of such devices to cause a fire internally, unbeknownst to the person using the torch. He said the fire department responds to such fires a couple of times a year.

"The heat generated by the devices penetrates into the structure and then starts things smoldering inside where you can't see from the outside," he said. "Then the smoldering gets larger and larger and then a fire breaks out.

"That's why it's so dangerous; they think nothing is amiss because you can't see anything from the outside, and you don't realize something is on fire inside."

Internal fires are most common with roofers who use torches to seal flashing around chimneys, Ebsen said, and painters who use them to take the paint off the side of residential buildings.

Vanderlaan is excited to reopen the business to the public, but it was a tough decision whether to reopen "when you put your time and energy and effort into a business and in the blink of an eye it's gone. So we did make the decision to push the reset button, and that wasn't an easy decision to come to," she said.

Contact: tim@oakpark.com

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OP parent from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 3rd, 2014 1:28 PM

Good news! Glad to see you're back!

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