Editors’ note: Baik reached out to the Glen Park News to clarify that he’s still considering his options when it comes to reopening his business. The story has been updated to reflect this. The Glen Park News regrets the error
Four months after a fire swept through building at the corner of Chenery and Diamond, Glen Park Cleaners owner Tommy Baik says he’s not sure if he’ll be reopening the business.
He said he was still pondering and trying to decide. He spent Saturday, September 17 overseeing a cleanup crew in hazmat suits and masks cleaning the burned out space.
Whatever he eventually decides, it won’t be anytime soon. “There’s still a lot of work to do with our customers and the insurance,” he said. “I’m busy.”
The fire began at about 7:00 pm on June 4, 2022, in one of the dryers in the rear of the building. One of Baik’s employees suffered a minor hand injury and was treated by paramedics on the scene but otherwise there were no injuries.
Heavy grey smoke from the fire entered the business and the apartment on the second floor and billowed out of the building. Firefighters had to cut several holes in the roof to stop the progression of the fire and vent the smoke. Luckily, no one was home in the apartment at the time.
Since the blaze, Baik has been working to replace or repay customers who had clothing at the cleaners when it struck. While the fire itself was relatively small, smoke and water damage meant none of the clothing could be salvaged.
Insurance is paying for the replacement and repayment but because all the cleaner’s records were destroyed in the fire, figuring out who lost what is time consuming, he said.
A notice on the front door of the boarded up cleaners directs customers to contact Baik to work things out. He said a surprising number of customers had reached out to him just to say “don’t worry about it. ”
“They’ve been really nice,” Baik said as workers clothed head to toe in white hazmat suits carried out bags of burned equipment. They spent much of Saturday dismantling the shop’s large dry cleaning machine so it could be removed.
Baik said the building’s owner planned to repair the damage and reopen the building, a process that he estimated would take a year to a year and a half.
Asked if he planned to reopen the cleaner when the building was ready, he says he’s still deciding.
“I started working here when I was 19, as a presser,” he said. Then when he was 22 he bought the business and has worked there ever since. After more than 40 years in the business he’s weighing his options.
Baik said he misses seeing people and chatting with neighbors and as the crew worked people kept coming up to him to ask how he was doing and check in. “People are nice here,” he said of Glen Park.