It”s been nearly two months since fire ripped through the chiropractic office of Dr. Robert Leach at the corner of Russell and Hogan streets.
Now, the veteran chiropractor is preparing to move back into the newly renovated structure, with a goal to be back in business by Nov. 1.
The inside of the building suffered such extensive smoke and heat damage during the Aug. 26 blaze that Leach believed he wouldn”t be able to return to the location. He spent the past two months treating patients out of his home on South Jackson Street and even began to look for new office space.
But construction crews over the past month have worked hard to rehabilitate the office. Crews had to strip the inside down and replace sheet rock, insulation, ceilings and electrical wiring, plus install a new roof, windows, ceiling and siding, among other things.
The blaze caused approximately $163,000 in inventory damage, with much of Leach”s chiropractic equipment getting marred beyond repair, he said.
“But there”s (insurance) coverage for most of it,” he said.
The blaze only claimed a handful of patient charts, Leach said, though others are partially charred. Leach also lost computers, desks, cabinets and other property.
Starkville police suspect the fire was arson. The culprit or culprits gained entry to the building by breaking a window, Starkville Police Department Detective William Durr said shortly after the blaze. Authorities also discovered some electronics were missing.
Police have not made an arrest in the case, but the investigation is ongoing, SPD Chief David Lindley said Wednesday.
The past two months have been a trying time for Leach, his family and the patients who have visited his home for treatment.
“It”s really frustrating, but I feel like at the end of the day God is going to bless us through all of it,” Leach said. “Early on I was kind of moping around and going through — I don”t want to call it depression — but you have days where you”re moping around and are just frustrated. Then I was reminded by contractors I know on the Gulf Coast who went through Hurricane Katrina that they not only lost their businesses, but lost their houses on the same day. I just can”t imagine losing your house. It could be a lot worse than this. I can”t imagine losing my business and my house.
“I think all of this has certainly given me a lot of compassion for people going through a similar ordeal,” he added.
One of the things that”s helped Leach and his family get through the ordeal has been the well-wishes and prayers of others, he said, from friends and patients to fellow chiropractors across the state.
“We”re grateful that so many people care and we really appreciate their prayers and their thoughts,” Leach said.
Leach”s office is located at 214 Russell St.
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