PHOENIX - Clean-up continues after a fire wiped out Phoenix businesses and the dreams that came along with them.
Whiteman’s Machine Shop, a Phoenix staple for decades, is a total loss. The owners and family, of course, are left devastated. It's a business that’s given so much to the Phoenix community.
They now need the community's help.
For decades, the shop stood near Roosevelt Street and Grand Avenue. Eleven10 Garage, which is a tenant to the property, was also damaged in the Oct. 6 fire and had to pause business.
"It’s a piece of Earth that I’ve acquired with hard work," owner Jeff Whiteman said as he glances at what was left.
Rubble and a few items were saved from the flames.
"The building means a lot to my family," he said. "This was our livelihood."
His heart and soul are in the neighborhood.
"I’ve lived here for years. I’ve had friends that way, that way, and that way," Jeff said.
The tenant of Whiteman’s, Eleven10 Garage, says the business felt more like home.
"We don’t really consider it a business," said owner Chris Elliot. His spot is now damaged by flames.
It was a haven for many.
"It’s our friends. It's our family. It's our neighbors," he said. Then disaster struck.
Flames engulfed the building and the cause of the fire is still unknown to investigators.
The blaze also left Mindi Breen of nearby Wolf Howl Honey, a local barbershop, without power.
"Most of all, people’s spirits are down," Breen said.
She calls it a devastating hit to a close-knit business community.
"Everybody here is a visionary, an artist, and this isn’t corporate money. This is people who have saved, who have dreams, they have goals, and they’re trying to make something happen on a shoestring budget," she said.
For Whiteman, who didn’t have insurance, seeing his life’s work and dream turn to rubble, is too much to bear.
"After you’ve been in a property, you just learn it," he said. "I know every wall. I know every wire."
Days later, he’s piecing together back what he can and holding on to hope that one day his dream will be a reality once again.
"I'm just trying to rebuild, get my feet under me," he said.
Whiteman's Machine Shop GoFundMe: https://gofund.me/2da3ac1c
Eleven10 Garage GoFundMe: https://gofund.me/8d847a8e
Photo by Chris Elliot