PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Southeast Portland business owner is suing a neighboring business for negligence three weeks after a massive fire gutted their shared building.
The Oct. 5 fire destroyed four businesses at SE 13th Avenue and Hawthorne Boulevard: Thai Touch, Riyadh’s Lebanese Restaurant, antique store Really Good Stuff, and the Lounge Lizard vintage furniture store.
Two firefighters working on the outside of the building were injured when a smoke explosion blew out the glass, Portland Fire and Rescue said. They were hospitalized with minor injuries. No other injuries were reported.
In a lawsuit filed on Oct. 22 in Multnomah County Circuit Court, Evan Shlaes, the owner of Really Good Stuff, alleges the fire started in Lounge Lizard’s “paint-booth ventilating system” and that “flames were first seen erupting out of the window, up and around the outside of the building.”
Two Lounge Lizard workers quickly informed a Really Good Stuff employee about the fire and said the building needed to be evacuated, the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit claims Lounge Lizard’s vent system was “dirty, coated with the residue of flammable materials, was serviced by substandard electrical appliances and wiring, and not properly inspected and maintained.”
Shlaes accuses Lounge Lizard of negligence which led to the total loss of Really Good Stuff. He’s suing the company for $250,000 in damages.
Really Good Stuff had been in business for 30 years. Shortly after the fire, Shlaes told KOIN 6 News it took decades to accumulate the unique items in his store. He said he didn’t have fire insurance.
Shlaes said he plans to reopen his store at a new location: SE 37th Avenue and Division Street. A GoFundMe has raised more than $37,000 to help Really Good Stuff rebuild.
KOIN 6 News has reached out to the owner of Lounge Lizard for comment about the lawsuit, as well as Portland Fire and Rescue for comment about the alleged cause of the fire.