A Blenheim cafe owner still reeling from a fire at her business has been humbled by the support of the community.
CBD Cafe owner Tania Godsall said she was devastated by the blaze, but grateful for Marlborough’s caring spirit.
“I had a man in the street walk up to me and give me this massive hug. He was nearly in tears. I thought ‘crikey, I don’t even know you’.”
Godsall wasn’t sure how or where the fire started, and was waiting to hear from the fire investigator.
Six months after a fire ripped through their café and one pandemic lockdown later, CBD Eatery has re-opened.
While the colour scheme and food cabinet will look somewhat familiar to the café’s regular customers, the location is at a new Queen St site.
Previously CBD café, CBD Eatery co-owner Mike Godsall said during lockdown they were faced with the decision about what to do with the business.
With no secure reopen date for the original site, they had four options: wait, close the business, have a pop-up café or move entirely.
“It’s devastating watching your business go up in fire, nobody wants to see that happening,” Tania said.
The fire, on the evening of 5 February 2020, ripped through the Forum building in Blenheim’s central business district.
With New Zealand’s lockdown also impacting work being able to be completed on the damaged building, it had been about nearly six months since they had traded.
“We did go through the stress of thinking, do we want to go through this again? Because it is a lot to set up a business,” Tania said.
“But at the end of the day, it was fight or flight.”
Mike said the pair’s military background helped them to pull through, and start again.
Experience shows that the majority of commercial kitchen fires will involve the kitchen exhaust hood or ductwork in the roof.
A fire that originates within a commercial kitchen can spread into and up the ductwork system, fuelled by the oil and grease within the duct. A fire within the duct can ignite combustible materials outside of the duct, via radiant heat transmission, or can ignite grease that has leaked out of duct seams, spreading the fire in the building.
Rebuilding after a fire is an experience that is unique for each business owner, yet all agree that avoiding such an event is paramount.
The single most important thing you can do to keep your kitchen exhaust system safe is to regularly inspect and keep the system free from grease.
If you think your kitchen exhaust hood ventilation system does not meet current standards or represents a fire risk, you should contact Shepherd Filters to arrange an obligation-free fire risk assessment.