The Isla Vista Cooperative will begin reconstruction today after a fire on June 7 caused excessive smoke damage and filled the streets of I.V. with the scent of smoking granola.
The fire, which sent flames nearly 30 feet in the air, broke out at around 7.p.m. on Friday, June 7. Careless smoking by an employee started the blaze, which left the entire building and its contents with severe smoke damage, Santa Barbara Fire Department Public Information Officer Charlie Johnson said.
“[It was] careless smoking by an employee [of the Co-op],” he said. “An employee was smoking and discarded a cigarette in a pile of paper and cardboard outside the building, beneath a kind of overhang roof. It was something that could have been prevented.”
I.V. Co-op General Manager David Montano said the removal of all the fire-damaged sections of the store must be completed before renovation can begin. As part of the restoration, the Co-op will be improved with new floors, wires and a paint job.
“We’re definitely reopening,” Montano said. “We’re hoping to be open in about three to four weeks. When you enter the door again, it will be an awesome experience.”
Although the fire was small, it caused a considerable amount of damage to both the Co-op and surrounding buildings. The cost of the damage is not known yet, Johnson said.
“The fire was near the back of [the building],” he said. “There was considerable smoke damage. The smoke permeated the entire building.”
No injuries were reported.