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Greenwood fire cleanup begins

A steady stream of workers are hauling waterlogged debris out of neighboring businesses, while insurance adjusters and engineers are finalizing plans to shore up the facade of the Eleanor Roosevelt Building so fire inspectors can get inside the burned-out building on Monday.

At Taproot Theatre, a large crew of people ripped out damaged carpet and insulation. A couple inches of water pooled in nearly every bag workers hauled out of the building.

More workers pulled drywall and other material from the Greenwood Academy of Hair’s basement. Another group pulled waterlogged merchandise out of a basement warehouse underneath Romio’s used by Alhambra AtoZ. Manager Yigit Bozatli said water from the fire hoses rose to about knee-height, damaging a fair amount of inventory.

“We were lucky, but I’m sorry for them,” he said, gesturing toward the burned-out businesses.

Taproot co-founder Scott Nolte is hoping they’ll be able to reopen in time for their holiday season show, “Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol,” but he’s not yet confident that will happen. He’s concerned about being able to find a suitable temporary home during the busy holidays. He’s realistic about it though, saying they’re still better off than the four tenants of the ERB.

“Ours is more inconvenient. Theirs is devastating,” Nolte said, figuring the fire has put about 40 employees out of work. Three of the four businesses are family-run.

Meanwhile, preparations for today’s final two showings of “Enchanted April” were going well, said Nolte, who watched a run-through last night at the Seattle Children’s Theatre, which loaned them the space. The set will be minimal, but “the actors are committed,” Nolte said. “The story, the words, all that will be fabulous.”  

Taproot is wasting no time trying to get their space back into shape. Even while most of the staff are getting for the remote rendition of the play, others are getting ready to move the costume shop out of the theater to an empty storefront at Pipers Village later today.

Before the fire, 2010 season ticket sales (we bought ours earlier this week) were ahead of the pace they saw at this time last year. “That’s incredibly affirming,” Nolte said. “Now we just have to have a theater.”

Seattle firefighters last saw a flare-up at about 10 p.m. last night and they’ll remain at the scene through at least this evening should any remaining hot spots break through, said Battalion Chief Mark Larsen.