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Main Street Market recovers after fire
Culprit was likely a short circuit in a fan
Gainesville firefighters outside the Main Street Market after the fire was put out this morning. - photo by Tom Reed

Main Street Market reopened for business Friday after a morning electrical fire threatened to keep the lights off in the downtown mainstay.

The main level market provided a temporary home for its slightly more damaged downstairs counterpart, Italian restaurant Blonde, building owner Doug Harkrider said.

Gainesville Fire Chief Jon Canada said his department responded to a fire alarm at the building shortly before 7 a.m. Friday. Fire officials later determined the cause of the fire to be an electrical short.

Harkrider’s wife, Debra, said the culprit was likely a short circuit in a fan over the bar area of Blonde.

The restaurant is located in the basement of the building, but the fire spread through the walls and the floor of Main Street Market, which houses Sweet Magnolias Cafe & Bakery as well as various retail shops.

The damage on the main level was contained to the bathrooms, Debra Harkrider said. No furniture upstairs was damaged.

“Fortunately, though ... the water (from a sprinkler system) came on just where it needed to,” Debra Harkrider said.

When firefighters arrived, employees of Sweet Magnolias had already arrived to begin their preparatory work for the day’s business.

Harkrider said they were unaware of the fire until smoke downstairs tripped the alarm.

“When they opened the doors to go downstairs to check the restaurant, the smoke just hit them in the face,” she said.

Access to the downtown streets around 118 Main St. was blocked as firefighters spent more than an hour extinguishing the fire.

The cafe and shops in Main Street Market had reopened by 11:30 a.m., Canada said. And since there was only a little damage to the main level of the building, Blonde didn’t have to miss a beat.

“We hope people come out and support us,” Harkrider said.

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