June 17, 2011                                                    

Dockside Hatteras is open for business after fire destroys warehouse 

By IRENE NOLAN


Meg and Joe Klea, owners of Dockside Hatteras furniture store in Avon, reported that they are open for business and planning to rebuild a warehouse that was destroyed by fire early Friday morning, June 10.

The first alarm in the two-alarm fire went out at 1:36 a.m. When the first unit from Avon Volunteer Fire Department arrived on the scene eight minutes later, the warehouse was fully involved in fire.

Eventually, Buxton, Frisco, and Hatteras village fire departments also responded.

“The fire departments were just awesome,” Joe Klea said in an interview today, adding that he just didn’t have enough good words to describe how hard the volunteer firefighters worked.

They watered down the main Dockside store, two large propane tanks, several residences, and nearby shops, including Island Spice and Wine and Frank and Fran’s, and kept those buildings from being damaged.

Also responding to the fire scene were Hatteras Island Rescue Squad and two ambulances from Dare’s Emergency Medical Services. Dare County EMS transported one firefighter to Outer Banks Hospital for heat exhaustion. Another firefighter got something medically removed from his eye the morning after the blaze.

The warehouse, in which Dockside stored extra inventory, was completely destroyed.  Klea said the loss would be more than $250,000 for the 4,750-square-foot warehouse and the contents.

He said the Dare County Fire Marshal’s office is investigating the cause of the fire.

“We’ve been open since the day after the fire,” Klea said. “We never closed, and we even made some sympathy sales this week!”

He added that they were expecting new shipments next week, including mattresses that will be stored in a trailer until the warehouse is rebuilt, which he said will be done as quickly as possible.

The Dockside Hatteras main building was originally a movie theater that was built in the late ‘60s.

Meg and Joe Klea opened their store on the site in August, 1993, just three weeks before Hurricane Emily sent flood tides from Pamlico Sound rushing into Avon and villages to the south.

Since then, Joe said, the store has been flooded six or seven times, though not with as much water as Emily brought.

Floods, he said, he’s used to, but fire was something he surely didn’t expect.

The store sells furniture, accessories, and gift items and is located at 40220 Highway 12 in Avon.



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