Wooden Duck, Berkeley Furniture Store, Reopens Following Weekend Fire

Berkeley furniture seller the Wooden Duck reopened Monday morning after a massive fire destroyed a back warehouse and a good deal of the store's inventory on Saturday, the store's general manager said.

The store's showroom was mostly unaffected by the fire, which destroyed a warehouse complex used by three businesses in the 1800 block of Second Street on Saturday night, Wooden Duck general manager Jacob Massler said.

The other affected businesses were Joshua Tree Furniture, an artisan woodworking shop, and Import Tile.

Import Tile's main store was unaffected and remains open, but the destroyed building housed some of its stock. Customers who had affected orders will be contacted, according to a post on the company's website today. 

Joshua Tree was entirely housed in the destroyed building, Massler said. Representatives from that company did not immediately return calls for comment.

The fire started at about 8 p.m. Saturday in the Wooden Duck's warehouse. It eventually engulfed all three businesses and the roof collapsed, fire officials said. Firefighters didn't control the blaze until about 1 a.m. Sunday.

Today, only the brick walls that separated the three facilities remain standing, with the rest a mess of charred rubble, Massler said.

He estimated the loss of inventory for the Wooden Duck at between $600,000 and $1 million.
However, employees remained in good spirits as they picked through the pieces, he said.

Other facilities operated by the Wooden Duck had varying degrees of damage, but no fire damage, Massler said. The company's factory was covered in soot and ash when employees got inside Sunday, but a thick brick firewall kept the fire from spreading inside.

The factory also had several inches of standing water inside, he said.

The store's showroom was mostly unaffected, with only small pools of water inside. Some furniture there was damaged by water, but workers are drying it out and salvaging what they can.

One irreplaceable item lost in the fire was lumber acquired from University of California at Berkeley's Memorial Stadium. The Wooden Duck constructs furniture from seats torn out of the stadium during its recent renovation.

Much of that lumber is stored in Oakland, but about 25 percent of the wood they had from Memorial Stadium was lost, Massler said.

But the Wooden Duck will persevere and continue in the Berkeley location, as well as a second store in San Rafael, Massler said.

Berkeley fire officials have not disclosed a possible cause for the blaze. Massler said agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were at the site this morning to assist in the investigation.

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