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Piercing shop burns

December 21, 2005

Fire officials have not decided if they will cite the roofer who sparked a two-alarm fire sparked on top a mini strip mall Tuesday afternoon.

&

We&

re still completing our report but we have not made a determination if we&

re going to cite the individual, the roofer,&

AFR Fire Inspector Shawn Branaugh said this morning.

The blaze damaged the roof of the Elemental Rites Piercing Tattoo building, which also houses The Flat Top and Vic&

s Mongolian Bar-B-Que on the 1600 block of Siskiyou Boulevard.

However, the fire did not cause significant smoke or water damage inside, fire officials said.

&

This is a good outcome for us,&

Ashland Fire Rescue Chief Keith Woodley said, explaining the quick response of the B shift got the blaze under control quickly.

The fire is only the second structure burn in Ashland this year, according to Woodley.

The fire started when roofer Gary Sabin was using a propane blow torch to make spot repairs on the old roof.

&

I was just doing a patch job,&

said Sabin, who operates Red&

s Roofing out of Jacksonville. &

I had a torch and I was heading it up to dry it.&

Sabin was about a half hour into the process, and the propane tank still had a lot of fuel in it, according to Branaugh.

The flames ignited the roofing materials just after — p.m., causing Sabin to drop the torch. He ran to the backside of the building and tried to reach the fire department, but couldn&

t get the numbers to work because of the tar on his hands. A pedestrian called 911 while the torch, still connected to a propane tank on the ground, fueled the fire.

Elemental Rites owner Ryan Kremp, 31, had gone next door to The Flat Top for a haircut and was about halfway through the trim when the fire started.

&

My son had just stepped outside and he said &

145;Are there supposed to be flames up there?&

&

recalled Mike Diaz, who owns barber shop.

Kremp raced to his store thinking he would salvage something, but instead reached for a fire extinguisher and headed to the roof. Meanwhile, a Central Point man driving past stopped and crept close enough to the blaze to turn off the propane tank feeding the flames.

Firefighters got the call at 3:09 p.m. and quickly doused what remained the fire. The investigation and clean-up lasted until nightfall.

Ashland police officers closed Siskiyou Boulevard between Walker Avenue and Harmony Lane for about an hour while fire crews worked.

Outcome

Although nothing inside was damaged by the rooftop fire, Kremp will keep his store shut through the end of the year.

&

I&

m sure I&

m going to be closed for the next two weeks, three weeks while they fix the roof,&

Kremp said, adding the timing is unfortunate because a new piercer had planned to start work today. &

Christmas sales were starting to pick up, too.&

But he hopes the repairs will fix the roof problems he&

s had since Elemental Rites opened just over a year ago &

parts of the roof had already been tarred once this fall &

and he intends on keeping more fire extinguishers around in the future.

&

I was lucky I had the fire extinguisher,&

Kremp said. &

If I had one or two more, I could have got it all out.&

The Flat Top reopened today; Vic&

s remains closed for renovations.

Yesterday's initial story (with photos)

Staff writer can be reached at 482-3456 x 225 or jsquires@dailytidings.com.