Couples scramble for alternatives after blaze guts rental company
Mary Beth Gaddy’s wedding is next week. As most brides do, she planned well in advance. The 26-year-old reserved tables, chairs and linens from T&R Party and Event Rentals in January.
The bride-to-be said she uttered an obscenity 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 ringing with calls from people scrambling to replace items they’d arranged to rent from T&R, which was destroyed.
Fifty couples had made reservations by 11 a.m. Thursday for candelabras, linens, tables and chairs in July and August. A to Z’s three locations in Spokane accommodated every one, company representatives 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 Avenue. 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?”
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.
“She (Bradley) called us today,” manager Tom Grote said Thursday. “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., remained under investigation Thursday, said Brian Schaeffer, assistant chief at the Spokane Fire Department.
Bradley’s building was fully insured.
The fire at T&R was one of several North Side blazes that kept firefighters busy Wednesday. Updates on a couple of others:
Investigators have not determined what caused the duplex fire at 6918 N. Normandie St., said Doug Bleaker, a deputy chief of Spokane County Fire District No. 9. He said it will probably be next week before an answer is found.
The cause of the brush fire at 1402 E. Magnesium Ave. is officially undetermined, but it’s highly likely it was human-caused, Schaeffer said.