Akimbo Bookshop, Veneto looking to rebuild after building fire on East Avenue

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Businesses on East Avenue are looking to rebuild a week after a three-alarm fire caused significant damage, prompting some of them to shut down.

Fire investigators tell News10NBC the fire started from an electrical issue with a clothes dryer inside Veneto Wood Fire Pizza & Pasta on East Avenue.

Business owners said they are devastated after that fire destroyed most of their items and now they say it’s time to get the business back up and running.

“I had a firefighter put his hand on my shoulder and tell me that everything that I have put my life savings into, all of my hard work, all the community that we’ve built here is gone,” Akimbo Bookshop owner Rachel Crawford said.

“You pick up a book and then you move it and you can see the char around it,” Crawford said.

Crawford opened the shop last April, and now she says all the money put into it is covered in smoke.

“I’m a single mom,” Crawford said. “My insurance company doesn’t cover almost anything. I’ve lost all my books and appliances and furniture. It’s devastating to me emotionally, financially and I’m really not sure what the future holds.”

Rochester firefighters said the fire was contained mostly to Veneto and traveled up through the ceiling and bays, causing heavy fire damage within the back of the building.

“It was a devastating day,” Veneto chef and manager Chris Mayer said. “It hurts a little to remember that morning, but we’re taking a step forward.”

Mayer said they too are focused on rebuilding and trying to keep as much staff working in their Buffalo Road location with expanded hours.

“Reopening that business is up in the air for some time, from what I understand, we’re talking 10 to 12 months before we can see anything happening there,” Mayer said.

“I still wake up thinking that I’m coming to work and I don’t have that,” Crawford said. “And I want to rebuild it as quickly as possible, but I don’t have anything to rebuild it with yet.”
Fire investigators said other businesses affected on East Avenue can’t open back up because of electrical issues.
Rachel does have a GoFundMe set up here to help rebuild the bookshop.

Veneto Gates location is located at 1308 Buffalo Rd and is open Monday-Sunday for dinner service and will serve lunch Thursdays and Fridays beginning at noon.