Miami Laundry and Dry Cleaning burned to the ground today, halting nearly 70 years of service to the Miami community.
Firefighters arrived at 217 S. Main St. shortly before 2 a.m. today to find fire raging through the roof of the 1929 structure, according to Miami Fire Chief Kevin Trease.
“We worked to extinguish the roof while protecting B&B Auto Supply next door,” Trease said.
The objective from the onset, according to Trease, was to protect the surrounding structures.
“There was no way we could have saved the building,” Trease said. “They lost everything.”
The auto supply store, which sits north of the cleaners, is separated from the dry cleaners by a fire wall.
To the south, Woody's Cafe was buffered from the fire by a vacant lot.
“We were faced with a fire that was completely out of control,” Trease said. “We were very fortunate to save B&B. These types of fires are difficult to control, but, we put a very good stop on it.”
The auto supply store suffered roof damage and some water damage, according to Trease.
Trease said he could only estimate the loss to be at least a half-million dollars.
“They lost everything,” Trease said. “We have no idea what was in there. How do you calculate that kind of a loss?”
Trease said that 100 Grove High School band uniforms were lost. The News-Record confirmed that the school did have uniforms at Miami Laundry and Dry Cleaning, but the number of uniforms could not be confirmed.
Gayle Yarborough, secretary for the Grove superintendent of schools, said today that the school district purchased the uniforms last year and some were being cleaned after the first season of use.
Miami Laundry and Dry Cleaning is owned by Russell Turnbow of Joplin, Mo., he could not be reached today for comment.
Turnbow is the latest to own the business that started nearly 70 years ago by a couple known by the last name of Evilsisers, according to Lou Mirjanich. It was later purchased by Wes Reneger in 1941.
Mirjanich is a former owner of the dry cleaning business. He merged his Delmar Cleaners with Miami Laundry and Dry Cleaning in 1980 and partnered with Jack Reneger, son of Wes Reneger. They later sold their interests to Turnbow.
Trease said firefighters battled the fire for nearly four hours before leaving the scene at 6 a.m. this morning.
No employees were working when the fire was reported.
The cause of the fire has not been determined.