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Fire destroys longtime South Salt Lake family business

Jun 21, 2018, 1:29 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A longtime family business in South Salt Lake was destroyed by fire.

The fire at Ra-elco on south Main Street started just before 6:00 a.m. Thursday, collapsing the roof, making it difficult for crews to fight the flames.

“The community’s been good. The customer base has been a good one over the years. Thank you. We’ll just have to see how things work out,” said Robert Gunnell, co-owner of RA-Elco, an electronic parts and supplies store, that’s been in business on South Main Street in Salt Lake City since 1984.

Gunnell was headed to work when he got a call about the fire which began around 6:15 Thursday morning, “Got here and arrived and it was true.” Gunnel’s father originally owned the shop.

Thankfully no one was inside the store when the fire broke out. Fire officials weren’t sure if this was the case for some time since the roof had collapsed they couldn’t safely enter the building and they were unable to reach Gunnell.

Many neighbors and customers say the store has been a community staple.

“That section of the store kind of had, basically had speakers and stuff like that,” said longtime customer Ralph Faneus who spotted the smoke while driving his wife to work.
The West Valley City resident has been a customer at Ra-Alco for years. “I don’t want to order my stuff online. It’s always nice to have a store to walk into,” he said.

“It’s just kind of a shock to see this happen. You know it’s stores like this that make inventors out of people. This is why we have our toys and our gadgets and everything like that. You know?,” said Faneus, who hopes RA-Elco will reopen.

“It’s devastating news, but we’ll see what we can do with insurance and so forth to get back going again maybe,” said Gunnel.

Photo: Caitlin Burchill Photo: Caitlin Burchill Photo: Caitlin Burchill

 

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Fire destroys longtime South Salt Lake family business