PORTLAND, Ore. — The owner of the Southeast Portland vintage shop Really Good Stuff has sued Lounge Lizard, another vintage shop located two doors down, alleging that an Oct. 5 fire that tore through their shared building began in the neighboring store.
The commercial building on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard was also home to the restaurants Thai Touch and Riyadh's Lebanese. All four businesses were destroyed in the massive fire, which sent plumes of flame billowing out of the windows and caused the roof of the structure to collapse.
Fire officials said no staff or customers were hurt in the fire, although two firefighters were hospitalized with minor injuries from a 'smoke explosion' that occurred while crews were battling the blaze.
Really Good Stuff owner Evan Shlaes filed his lawsuit on Friday in Multnomah County Circuit Court. The lawsuit alleges that the fire began in the paint booth ventilating system of Lounge Lizard on the morning of Oct. 5.
Two Lounge Lizard employees rushed over and warned an employee at Really Good Stuff that a fire was quickly spreading and the building needed to be evacuated, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges that the Lounge Lizard vent system was "dirty, coated with the residue of flammable materials, was serviced by substandard electrical appliances and wiring, and not properly inspected or maintained," and argues that the fire occurred due to negligence on the part of the shop owners.
Shlaes seeks $250,000 in damages from Lounge Lizard, which he claims is the estimated value of the loss he incurred from the destruction of Really Good Stuff.
When asked about the cause of the fire, Portland Fire and Rescue Public Information Officer Terry Foster told KGW the building is still under investigation. The scene was too unstable for entry last week, he said, so investigators will conduct a multi-party examination at the end of this week.
Shlaes told KGW he hopes to reopen his store in a new location on Southeast Division Street in December, but needs to get through some major remodeling first. He declined to comment about the lawsuit.
KGW has reached out to the owner of Lounge Lizard for comment.