Fire at Auburn strip mall impacts five businesses

Five Auburn businesses are picking up the pieces after flames and thick smoke filled a strip mall on East Main Street on Wednesday.

Firefighters say just after 11 a.m. an employee at the Cascade Chiropractic and Massage office reported smelling smoke.

"There was heavy, dark, gray and black smoke coming from the entire structure from the roof," said Brad Chaney, PIO of South King County Fire on behalf of the Valley Regional Fire Authority.

One of the businesses affected was Athens Pizza and Pasta House. 

"We were working and then all of a sudden the restaurant filled up with smoke and we tried to get everybody out of there as fast as we could," said Athens Pizza and Pasta House employee Yiani Contoravdis.

The family-owned business has been serving the community for 40 years. The fire was a devastating setback in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has hit the restaurant industry especially hard.

"It's tough. We haven't really caught a break this year. 2020 hasn't been so nice to us," said Contoravdis.

Fortunately, everyone escaped safely and no one was hurt. The Contoravdis family said as tough as it was to watch their livelihood go up in smoke, they plan to rebuild and serve the Auburn community they so love.

"What's next? I mean, we've been here 40 years. We will be here for 40 more years. It's not going to change anything. We're going to come back," said Contoravdis.

The fire is still under investigation.