CQ store emerges from the ashes following destructive blaze
A ROCKHAMPTON picture framing business has risen from the ashes with a pop up shop following a fire that destroyed a neighbouring building last month.
The Wandal store, which has been open for six years, was lucky to escape with only minor structural damage, but the blaze was enough to shut the store.
While emergency services tackled the fire, members of the public rallied together to help save pictures from inside the store.
Forming a line across the street, people passed pictures and valuable art pieces out of the building to safety.
James Lewis, owner of House of Frames, said seeing the community rally behind him and his business was extraordinary.
"The community support has been fantastic," he said.
"People are still coming in and offering help, and we really appreciate it.
"We are just plugging away and trying to get as much done as we can."
For Mr Lewis, giving up after the devastation of the fire was not an option, so he began plans to set up a pop up shop.
"There was no other alternative for us," he said.
"We couldn't just say 'let's pack it in'.
"We have worked so hard for the last six years, so we definitely wanted to come back."
With the new smaller space set up as a pop up shop just a few doors down from the original business, Mr Lewis said he isn't able to operate at the same level as before.
"This shop is way too small to be a permanent store," he said.
"We will be going back to the original store when it is all finished, which I'm told will probably take six to 12 months.
"Hopefully it will be closer to six than 12."
Setting up the pop up shop just two weeks after the fire, Mr Lewis said he is slowly getting back into the swing of business.
"We are probably two weeks away from being fully operational out of the pop up," he said.
"I've been taking jobs and doing little things with the machinery I have, but in two weeks I will be fully set up."
Going through the building after the blaze, Mr Lewis said although it was tough to see the damage, he was extremely relieved that they still had a shop to return to.
"We sustained damage to the ceiling and roof," he said.
"As well as electrical damage and damage to the walls and floors.
"Structurally it is ok, but there are a lot of holes in the ceiling that need to be replaced and there is no electricity, so it is a bit hard to work out of.
"The morning after when we looked at it I thought 'this is going to be a nightmare', but we're doing ok."