STROUDSBURG — A weekend fire in downtown Stroudsburg put a popular bakery out of commission and left about 20 tenants without a place to stay.
Now other nearby businesses are stepping in to help out.
Officials say that fire in Stroudsburg started early Sunday morning in an air conditioning unit behind Kitchen Chemistry, closing that store and several others on the 700 block of Main Street.
Those businesses and the people living in about 20 apartments on the upper floors say they don’t know when they’ll be able to return.
Tenants in the apartments in the building on Main Street still can’t believe what they woke up to this weekend in Stroudsburg.
Susan Douglass lives all the way on the top floor and says she heard the fire alarm early Sunday morning.
“I opened the door, smoke, started banging on doors and then I came down. By the time I got down to the second landing, you couldn’t see the steps,” Douglass recalled.
Terry Langkammer slept through the 2:30 a.m. fire alarm as flames and smoke began to tear through the apartments and several businesses on the first floor.
“We didn’t know it was really a real fire until the police man came and banged on our door and woke us up,” Langkammer said.
Lisa Diemer, owner of Kitchen Chemistry, says her custom cakes ready for pickup were destroyed. Much of her bakery and kitchen supply store took on significant water and smoke damage.
“We had to track down customers through Facebook and through email because their order forms got destroyed in the fire,” Diemer said.
The tenants living in the apartments don’t know when they’ll be able to get back in and the people at Kitchen Chemistry say they don’t know when they’ll be able to reopen, but everybody who lives and works there says they want to come back.
Several downtown businesses say they want to help in the meantime, offering baking space to Kitchen Chemistry, including Quench just a few blocks away.
“The downtown community here in Stroudsburg, it’s a special group and we’re so close and we do as much as possible to help each other out,” said Quench owner Nicole DeFour.
Tenants say they didn’t lose much and are being helped by the Red Cross and friends, while crews work to assess and clean up the damage.
“All in all, it could have been a whole lot worse,” Douglass said.
Other stores on the first floor of the building suffered mostly smoke damage.
The owner of the apartments on Main Street says he expects tenants to be able to get back into their homes by Tuesday evening.