Businesses count their losses, regroup

Posted: Sunday, July 23, 2000

In the wake of Friday's devastating fire that caused at least $1 million in total damage to the Anchor Plaza, those who worked in the strip mall are making plans to keep going.

The mall, owned by Beezsinc -- a partnership of area doctors Theodore Barton and Bobbie Behrens, included the gynecology and obstetric practices of Barton and Behrens, the family medical practices of Marguerite A. McIntosh and John Standerfer, the podiatry practice of Harry Cotler, an Internal Revenue Service field office, a Special Olympics office and Peninsula Internet.

Katherine Wilusz, Central Peninsula Special Olympics area director, said the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers had rented the space and donated it to the Special Olympics.

The fire destroyed all the office equipment, sports equipment and team uniforms stored in the office.

The total loss of equipment was estimated at at least $20,000, she said.

Wilusz said some of the destroyed sports equipment was brand new.

"We don't have anything," she said.

Wilusz said a meeting will be held Monday to discuss what the group will do. The location of the meeting, she said, has yet to be decided. Those interested in helping are urged to call Wilusz at 283-5476.

She said the Special Olympics program will continue on the Kenai Peninsula.

"We are not going to quit," she said.

Despite the extensive damage sustained by the mall, other businesses did not lose everything in the blaze.

Firefighters were able to recover most of the equipment from Peninsula Internet, owned by Betty Idleman and her sons Vance and Dyer VanDevere, including computers and pictures off the walls.

Idleman was driving through Soldotna Friday evening when she noticed smoke coming from the area where her business was located.

Her first reaction was "Don't let it be my building," she said.

Peninsula Internet customers currently are without service, she said Saturday afternoon, but if all goes well, service will be back to normal as soon as Monday.

The equipment that was rescued from the business, located in the right hand side of the mall, sustained little damage.

"There wasn't even any smoke damage to (it)," she said.

Officials at Central Peninsula General Hospital said Dr. Barton was out of town Saturday.

The remaining four physicians were unavailable, but the answering machine of Dr. Cotler said the practice was temporally displaced because of the fire.

Marty Richmond, CEO of CPGH, said the hospital is willing to do everything to help out the physicians in this time of need.

Doctors McIntosh, Barton and Behrens will temporarily operate in Peninsula Medical Center on Binkley Street. Their patients are urged to call 262-9343 for more information.

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