Clayton Fire Closes Four Businesses -- For Now


A small chimney fire at eatery Il Vicino has shuttered one block of Central Avenue in downtown Clayton.

Four businesses remained closed on Wednesday.
  • Four businesses remained closed on Wednesday.
For more about the businesses affected -- which include both Il Vicino and an outpost of Japanese chain restaurant Sansai -- see this post on our sister blog, Gutcheck.

We just got off the phone with the building's manager, Bob Camenzind of Secure Asset. He confirmed that the chimney at Il Vicino was to blame.

Camenzind also tells Daily RFT that the electricity should be back on in a week, allowing Busy Bee Shoe Repair & Alterations and the Clayton Barber Shop to reopen their doors. Both businesses suffered only minimal water damage.

But it may take a bit longer for Sansai and Il Vicino to reopen, Camenzind says.

"For the individual businesses, it just depends on how long it takes for their contractors to get the buildings back in shape," Camenzind says.

Camenzind confirmed that the fire department is looking into the possibility of a broken pipe. Water damage definitely trumped damage from the fire itself; wet basements and muddy floors appear to be the biggest issues, beyond the immediate lack of electricity.
Maria Mathias, who owns Busy Bee and has been operating on site for 19 years, stood on the sidewalk this morning greeting customers. The customers came to drop off their clothes or pick up their shoes, and while Mathias was happy to help them, she warned that without electricity, she couldn't use her sewing machine -- which will cause major delays to work being requested.

"This is the week for homecoming, and the season is changing," she told Daily RFT. "Do you know how much work we're losing right now?" Mathias says her insurance covers only actual damage from the fire and water, not lost wages.

And Gary Mautner, who owns the barber shop, reported that he doesn't have insurance at all. His assets are his skills as a barber, not any expensive machinery.

"I thought we'd get something for our loss of income," he said, but, as Camenzind confirms, the landlord's policy only covers the building itself.

"The leases state they should carry insurance [for anything beyond that]," he says.


Riverfront Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of St. Louis and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep St. Louis' true free press free.