Editor’s note: Algernong sent us this letter in response to our request for comments on the future of Elena’s Soul. We’ve edited it to fit our format, but the words were not changed.
My thoughts, prayers, and deepest sympathies are with the employees, residents and owners, of business and property in the Cedar Park community detrimentally impacted by the fire at Elena’s Soul on Monday December 24th at about 1 p.m. My greatest consolation is that there was no loss of life, or injury.
The initial determination of the City’s Fire Marshal and my independent fire inspector indicates the fire originated in the kitchen somewhere above the refrigerators, most likely in the ceiling. Due to the temperature of the blaze, hot enough to melt metal, and the total decimation, the exact cause is not determinable. There were no fire violations at Elena’s Soul, and all City required inspections and maintenance of cooking equipment, fire alarm system, fire suppression, hood cleaning and fire extinguishers were current. Foul play is not suspected or indicated by any reports at this time.
The Department of Licenses and Inspections declared Elena’s 3-story brick structure unsafe and scheduled demolition. The neighboring businesses, Gary’s Nails and the Cedar Park Café, had suffered limited physical and structural damages as a result of the conflagration. However, during demolition, the towering brick walls were felled into the neighboring businesses, causing severe and extensive damages. Gary’s Nails may have been structurally compromised and may face condemnation.
I am more sorry for the misfortune caused to the wonderful women, who operate Gary’s Nails and their employees, than words can express.
For our customers, our friends, who have become our ever growing and changing family … Thank you! I know many felt Elena’s Soul (and LeRoy’s) was as much their place as it was mine. Community was built there. No matter the difference of culture, hue, orientation or outlook, our common desire to share fellowship though food, music and drink contributed to understanding and acceptance of our differences.
I have great sadness that your special place is gone, and our special place is lost.
For this, not only do I feel your pain, but I share it, and understand it.
It is too early to say what the next step is from here. The process of recovery is extremely complex. The realities of liability, insurance, litigation and debt make simple answers to simple questions difficult.
In terms of fundraising, I understand that many wish to find ways to help. I would respectfully ask those who wish to help, not to press the issue. I appreciate the sentiment, but do not wish to be the object of charity.
I am thankful to be a part of your community. I am thankful for the outpouring of support and sympathy. We have all lost a special place. May we all hold on to our good memories.
Algernong Allen III