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Marlene Connors of A to Z Rental on Francis organizes a pile of orders Thursday, July 2, 2009, as she tries to help customers who had orders with T&R Party and Event Rentals, which was destroyed by fire Wednesday night. (Christopher Anderson / The Spokesman-Review)
Marlene Connors of A to Z Rental on Francis organizes a pile of orders Thursday, July 2, 2009, as she tries to help customers who had orders with T&R Party and Event Rentals, which was destroyed by fire Wednesday night. (Christopher Anderson / The Spokesman-Review)

Rental business fire leaves brides-to-be scrambling

Mary Beth Gaddy’s wedding is next week. As most brides do, she planned well in advance. The 26-year-old reserved her tables, chairs and linens from T&R Party and Event Rentals in January.

The bride-to-be said she dropped the “F” bomb when she learned Thursday that T&R went up in flames, but she held off calling T&R’s owner, Patricia Bradley.

“I figured there were probably people getting married this weekend who were more stressed than I was,” Gaddy said. “I will call her tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, phones at the three Spokane A to Z Rentals locations were exploding with calls from people scrambling to replace items they’d arranged to rent from T&R.

Fifty couples had made reservations by 11 a.m. Thursday for candelabras, linens, tables and chairs during the months of July and August. The business’s three locations in Spokane were able to accommodate every one, they said.

“I haven’t moved from this spot” in front of a computer terminal, said Marlene Connors, who works at the A to Z store on East Francis. She took reservations for the first three and a half hours of her shift.

“Oh yeah, we’ve got lots of canopies,” she told a caller. “What size?”

A to Z Rentals, T&R and Sun Rental Center are the three main party rental businesses in Spokane.

The employees at the East Francis A to Z Rentals, just three blocks from T&R, know how devastating a fire can be. In August 2006, they were burned out of their building.

“I’m sure she helped us out,” Connors said.

“She (Bradley) called us today,” said manager Tom Grote. “She wanted us to let her know which of her customers called us so she could cross them off her list.”

Bradley was apparently trying to help clients find rental replacements, he said.

The cause of the fire at T&R Party and Event Rentals, 1723 E. Francis Ave., remains under investigation, said Spokane Fire Assistant Chief Brian Schaeffer.

Bradley’s building was fully insured, but it was not known if she planned to rebuild.

A to Z manager Grote said Bradley had talked to him in the past about buying her out.

“This is a lot of work. Getting things cleaned, prepped and ready for the next wedding,” Grote said. “Brides are really picky.”



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