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Editorial: Livelihoods lost in Hadley fire

A Hadley firefighter crew with oxygen tanks waits to take a rotation in battling a fire that engulfed 206 Russell St. (Rt. 9) on Sunday evening. The building was home to several businesses, among them Greggory's Pastry Shop, College Pro Computers, International Food Market and Mi Tierra restaurant.
KEVIN GUTTING

A Hadley firefighter crew with oxygen tanks waits to take a rotation in battling a fire that engulfed 206 Russell St. (Rt. 9) on Sunday evening. The building was home to several businesses, among them Greggory's Pastry Shop, College Pro Computers, International Food Market and Mi Tierra restaurant. KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »

In a matter of hours Sunday, fire tore through a cluster of businesses on Route 9 in Hadley. Mercifully, no one was injured. But many will feel the impact because the enterprises at 206 Russell St. provided for many families.

The small strip mall on the north side of the road burned quickly to the ground, despite efforts by members of 10 fire departments. The cause remains under investigation. That probe could take time because the loss was so total, an official said Monday.

While investigators hunt answers, owners of these businesses, and their employees, no doubt grappled Monday with the question of how to move forward. Eleven businesses operated at the site, including many purveyors of international foods.

The blaze razed the structure housing the International Food Market, Banh Mi Saigon restaurant, Greggory’s Pastry Shop, Casablanca Halal Market, Mi Tierra restaurant and College Pro Computers. The building also housed a tattoo parlor, karate school and two apartments. Every business, like every person, has a unique history.

An entire volume of commercial history went up in smoke late Sunday in Hadley.

While the businesses can relocate, their ability to regroup and go on depends on money, willpower and good fortune. Their owners lost inventory and likely have varying degrees of insurance coverage. Moving a business is risky, because location can be key to success. While a business is in transition, even its most loyal customers can change their habits.

If the fire turns out to have been of suspicious origin, that will add to the grief and anger facing owners of these businesses. In the days ahead, all of those affected will learn who their real friends are, as well as something about their own resilience. They have no choice.

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Hadley disaster: Business owners take stock at scene of strip mall fire

Monday, December 30, 2013

HADLEY — Standing Monday morning behind a band of yellow hazard-scene tape, staring at his charred sign and the burned rubble that remains of his livelihood, Steve Marcil uttered over and over, “This is unbelievable.” Marcil, of Chicopee, who had returned to the scene of the Sunday night fire that destroyed the small strip of 11 shops and two apartments …

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