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Ace Hardware Closed Due To Electrical Fire

The family-owned and operated store on 56th Street will be closed for at least 60 days while the owners rebuild.

Greg Korte had just taken his first bite of Father’s Day dinner at his daughter’s house when he got the text message.

His store, on 56th Street, was on fire.

Greg rushed to the store, which he owns with his brothers, David, Steve and Bruce Korte.

Firefighters responded to the call. They had just been called back to the station from another fire and were turning around at bowling alley right across the street from Ace, Greg explained. They saw smoke at the hardware store and came over.

“We were lucky,” Greg said.

The fire was electrical, said an insurance adjustor, who didn’t want to be named. He was at the store June 21 to assess the damages.

Using a flashlight, he pointed to an area near the front of the store where the fire likely started. As Greg and his brothers walked through the entrance, charred chunks crushed beneath their feet.

The fire started after the store closed on June 19. It must have been between 5 and 6 p.m., David estimated. A clock near the door was frozen at 6:30, the second hand stuck but still ticking between two seconds.

“Never would have thought a fire,” David said.

The glass door of a refrigerator near the cash register was covered in black patches, making the drinks inside nearly invisible. The plastic of the register was twisted. The smell of burned charcoal lingered.

The charcoal and firewood, which was stored near the front, ignited when the fire broke out.

“That just fueled the fire, ya know?” David said.

It had to be swept out of the front entrance. It was piled in one of the parking spaces.

The brothers have owned the store for 34 years, and it’s been at its current location for 25. It serves about 300 people a day and has 17 employees, Greg said.

A picture of the original store that was taped up near the cash register wasn’t damaged. Also unharmed was a pet fish named Eugene, Greg’s middle name.

Cars attempted to pull into the parking lot June 21, but they stopped short when they came to the line of orange cones across the entrance. Greg said the store will be closed for at least 60 days while they clean everything out, repair the building, and restock the shelves with new inventory.

“We’re anxious to get started and try it again,” he said.

Grant Rimbey June 22, 2011 at 01:30 PM
Ace Hardware Temple Terrace is an institution. Please rebuild.
Sandra Green June 22, 2011 at 09:42 PM
So sorry. But glad no one was injured. YOur staff is so friendly and helpful. Can we do anything to help - I am sure that there are lots of us out here who would be willing.
Beth June 24, 2011 at 09:07 PM
Thank you both very much for your support. We are working everyday to get the store up and running again. Until then, you can follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ttacehardware. We will also be in the Temple Terrace 4th of July Parade. Please come back and shop with us once we are open again! We can't tell you how much our great customers matter to us!
Jamie Robe June 27, 2011 at 05:35 PM
Hi. I was literally in shock Saturday morning when I made my "Ace run". I had not heard about the fire. I am really sorry that you have to be closed right now, but we will all be there as soon as you open. Good luck!
Jamie Robe June 27, 2011 at 05:43 PM
Hi Grant, I agree. Plus, keep the popcorn machine :-)
Lucy June 29, 2011 at 01:51 AM
Ace is the place. We'd be lost without you guys.
Gary Kitchen August 29, 2011 at 11:38 PM
Wow, came by this past Friday to get a couple of special bolts for a small project, I come here especially because Ace TT always has every little thing I have needed in one place. I started to turn in and saw straight thru the front door, it was TOTALLY empty. I could not believe what I was seeing. I had not heard about the fire previously, hadn't been by since then. How I miss going there so much. Thank God no ne was hurt, can't wait 'til it's open again. Your service, smile and friendly manner are seldom found elsewhere

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