NAUGATUCK — On March 11, Sherri Cole celebrated the one-year anniversary of her salon’s opening.
“This is all from scratch,” she said, pointing out amenities through the windowfront of her business, J. Cole. “I did everything in here—all the painting, all the stations, all the furniture—everything is me. It was a salon before, but there was nothing in here but the sink.”
Now, after a fire erupted Sunday night in the basement of the building she leases at 161 Quinn Street, Cole fears that’s about all that might be left.
“I think they’re gonna have to gut the place,” she said.
Most of the structural damage appears to be to the salon’s floor, which is also the basement roof. But smoke almost certainly caused further damage to its interior; the smell of smoke still permeated the property the next day. Cole met Monday with an insurance adjuster but said she does not yet have an estimate of the fire’s financial toll.
The businesses on either side of J. Cole, Hanley’s Hometown Liquors and Capone’s Neighborhood Apizza, also sustained smoke damage; the window in the former’s front door was blown out by the blaze.
Local police and fire department investigators were examining the building Monday afternoon and said the fire’s cause is unknown, for now. Cole said they told her the fire started in a basement cabinet.
Cole opened the business last year with a single employee, with whom she had worked for 10 years. She said she was on her way home to Woodbury, from a vacation in New York, Sunday night when she received a call notifying her of the fire from a client whose husband is a Naugatuck fireman. At that point, Cole was still an hour from the borough.
“I ended up coming down last night, as soon as I heard,” she said.