BLOOMINGTON, Ill.-An early morning fire allegedly set by burglars at a Clay Dooley Inc. tire store didn't deter management from opening on schedule May 24. Tire company President Brian Trower claimed ``entrepreneurial spirit'' motivated the firm to conduct business despite the fire that destroyed the store's office.
According to Mr. Trower, one or more burglars broke into the store in Bloomington shortly before midnight, stole an undisclosed amount of cash from the office and then set a fire in the office, presumably to cover up the crime.
The burglars then opened a bay door in an apparent attempt to steal inventory, Mr. Trower said, but the fire evidently flared faster than expected, and the burglars left with only the cash.
Firefighters-called to the scene by a resident in a neighboring apartment complex-were able to contain the fire to the office.
The fire caused an estimated $20,000 in damage and gutted the interior office.
The company, which operates two stores in Bloomington, was insured for the damage and the incident is still under police investigation, Mr. Trower said. They have started rebuilding the office.
In the early morning hours after the fire was extinguished, Mr. Trower, his brother Steve, who is the store's manager, and the store's service manager cleaned out the ashes and mopped up the store. And although the cleanup was still under way at 7 a.m., the store opened on time to receive customers' cars for service work. Only two of the store's eight bays were inaccessible that day due to damaged electrical wiring.
In the aftermath of the incident, the store decided to stay open the following Monday, Memorial Day, to host a ``fire sale'' during which 54 tires were sold, Mr. Trower said.