Business back from the ashes
AFTER a fire tore through his Park Beach store in September last year, Paul Simpson is back in business.
Three businesses, including his Battery World store at Park Beach HomeBase, were extensively damaged by the toxic blaze.
“We’d been out for dinner for my wife, Deirdre’s birthday and we’d just got home to receive a call from centre management to say come and let the firies in, but by the time we got there they were already in and fighting the fire,” Mr Simpson said.
“Four investigators all agreed it was an electrical fire: it had nothing to do with batteries but once the fire started and got hold it took everything in its way including all the files we had just transferred and brought in in boxes and then anything flammable just added to the fierceness of it.
“It was total devastation, we lost everything from the front door back. It was just heart breaking for everyone - for customers, staff and our business neighbours. It went on until 3am. The firies were fantastic, but it was just gut wrenching watching it unfold.”
At the time Fire and Rescue NSW Mid North Coast Duty Commander Inspector Tony Lenthall confirmed the fire originated from a back workshop room at Battery World.
Mr Simpson said many people assume it was caused by batteries left on charge overnight.
“That was not the case. We always turn everything off at night. Battery World has strict operational procedures to ensure not only is nothing left on charge overnight, but simple things like turning off computer screens and power points for everything from the instore TV to the tea room kettle, is process.”
Mr Simpson has advice to other local businesses even householders: revisit your insurance and check exactly what you are covered for.
“What fire didn’t destroy, smoke and water damaged the rest,” he said.
“We never thought we’d lose everything from the front door back. Our saving’s grace insurance was ‘business interruption insurance’.”
But unfortunately they were not covered for all their stock and equipment.
“If you own a business you should double check the policy. It might be a while since you took it out and values have increased. The same in your own home: costs of things have changed and picking yourself up after fire is incredibly hard without adding financial heartache to it.”
A number of stores impacted by the fire were forced to relocate and both Early Settlers and Freedom Furniture have since closed their doors altogether.
The new Battery World store is located at 22 Keona Circuit, North Boambee Valley.