Workers hustle to ready damaged Roseville Galleria for Black Friday

8:19 PM, Nov 12, 2010   |    comments
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  • Damage to store in Roseville Galleria fire, Oct. 21, 2010

ROSEVILLE, CA - With just two weeks left until the traditional biggest shopping day of the year, will the enormous fire in the Roseville Galleria cause sales to go up in smoke? SLIDESHOW: Roseville Galleria fire

For many stores the answer could be yes.

Clean-up and reconstruction efforts have been divided into three phases.  The first phase was to re-open stores left relatively untouched by the fire. That happened one week after the Oct. 21 incident.

Phase two, including about 40 other stores with minor to moderate damage, is the focus now. Restoration crews and city building inspectors are working as fast as they can to have that group, also known as the blue zone, opened by Black Friday.

"Our first goal was to get stores open and we did that within one week of the fire and we had about 30 stores along with Nordstrom's open," said Rob Jenson, Roseville's Director of Public Works. "Then we started looking at what was feasible to open by Thanksgiving and that's what we're working towards right now."

Jenson believes it's a realistic goal.

Phase three, or the red zone, is another story.  New images taken by contractors on Friday show the immense amount of work yet to be done.  The hole in the roof of the mall is still there, and the majority of stores are burned down to wall frames and support beams.

That reconstruction will take until November 2011. 

But if it weren't for construction crews coming and going, those inside the Roseville Galleria would never know there is an issue.

Enormous temporary walls have been put up to block customers from the blue and red zones.  About 60 percent of the mall is unaccessible.

"As we got closer to that wall I thought you could still smell that smoke, but that could be just in my head," said shopper Jennifer Kaiser of Folsom. "I'm curious to see what it's like."

Some stores in the first phase of the project, though, are still not open. Some are vacating the mall.

But at nearly a dozen stores covered in plastic, employees inside rebuild.  Because of smoke and water damage, many stores needed new floors, carpeting and sheet rock.

Mall patrons are encouraged to check the Galleria's website frequently so they know what stores are open before they visit.

Anchor stores Nordstrom's and Macy's have re-opened.  JCPenney and Sears are still closed.

Roseville police arrested Alexander Piggee after a standoff. The Galleria was evacuated after Piggee allegedly started a fire inside an electronics store on the second floor, then barricaded himself.

Piggee was speaking incoherently when he went into the GameStop store around 10:30 a.m., according to Roseville police. They say he barricaded himself in an area just outside the store and started several other fires before he was arrested.

By Nick Monacelli,


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