ServiceMaster Clean prides itself on helping businesses and homes recover from fire and water damage.
Vice President Desiree Howard received a phone call at 3 a.m. and rushed to State Street to see her business engulfed in flames.
Howard said news stations arrived when she did and they watched firefighters try to manage the fire. The way the building was constructed there was no saving it, she said.
Howard said their vehicles contain all the essential equipment for their business and they were parked outside the building that day.“Unfortunately the keys were in the building so we needed a key maker to replace them all,” she said.Howard said they were as prepared as they could be because refurbishing fire damage is what their business is known for.She said the fire devastated the staff, but ServiceMaster did not close their doors.
“We actually closed out our best year,” Howard said.
She said ServiceMaster was too big of a franchise to close and for the first month and a half after the fire, the business was operated out of her basement.
“We treated our own fire as another loss, and started servicing it like that,” Howard said.
She said the city has been supportive of the reconstruction of ServiceMaster and they want the business to stay where it was located. Howard said since the fire created some issues for rebuilding, the city is making sure it gets building plans in line for a “state of the art” structure.Howard said the cause of the fire is undetermined but likely to be something electrical.
She said in dealing with this tragedy the employees were able to learn empathy for the clients they serve.“We learned the importance of practicing what you preach,” Howard said.“A lot of things were lost, but we were lucky enough to know who to call and where to go,” she said.Howard said the fire would ultimately cost the company approximately $1 million.ServiceMaster Clean is located at 210 State St. and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.