BOTHELL, Wash. – The damage from the 3-alarm fire can still be seen in downtown Bothell, but it was not the focus on Thursday night. More than 500 people filled Main Street for a fundraiser with proceeds going toward the businesses destroyed in the blaze.
On one end of Main Street was live music and laughter, in the middle were donation drives and hot dogs, and at the end of the street, Q13 News found Anna Burch and her husband, Scott, looking at the charred remains of the Mercantile building.
“It smells still like fire and smoke,” said Anna Burch. She came with her husband to support the business on Thursday afternoon, but was reminded of the reason why.
“I grew up eating at the Kozy Corner even before it was the Kozy Corner,” she said. “I took art lessons in the little room next door, and my mom bought her parrot at the parrot store that was there,” she said while pointing across the fire barricade. “It’s history that’s gone.”
“Little downtown Main Streets like this are hard to come by,” said Scott Burch, seconding his wife. “It’s nice to have a community come together and do this.”
The bock party was a creation of Greater Bothell’s Chamber of Commerce and North Shore Rotary. Two hours into their fundraiser, they had raised $30,000, by the end of the night at 8 p.m. they had raised $57,000. That money will go back to the businesses that were hardest in last Friday’s fire. Fifteen businesses were completely destroyed, another five were damaged; fire officials estimate the total cost of the blaze to be more than a million dollars.
It’s just one piece. said Scott Orr, who handed out fliers. He was hoping to drum up support for a fundraiser on August 11, at the Capps Club in Bothell.
“We’re more concerned with the secretaries, the dishwashers, the bussers, the waitress that just woke up and didn’t have a job anymore,” said Orr. The proceeds from that fundraiser will go toward the employees of the destroyed businesses.
“We’re trying to get some money coming towards them to allow them to pay rent because if they have to wait 4-6 weeks they’re going to be facing eviction.”
People like Amanda Cantua, who was supposed to open Kozy Corner Café the morning of the fire.
“I got a call right before I got in the shower that it was on fire, and I didn’t have to come in,” she said.
While Q13 News was talking with her, a woman named Katie Matthews grabbed her information. She’s hoping to hire Cantua and other servers like her at the Senior Center where she works.
“I am going to meet with my boss in the morning and see what we can do to get some of the Kozy staff to come over to vineyard and wait on our seniors,” she said.
This is what the community of Bothell is about, said Burch, stories like Cantua’s and Matthews that are now being written into the new town history.
“I think it’s going to be just fine, and they’re going to rebuild and it will come back to life,” she said.