A small fire broke out early September 7 at Blackstone Bicycle Works, incinerating hundreds of bikes that were stored in large trailer outside the shop, which is located at 61st and Blackstone. The cause of the fire is unknown; it was discovered by the fire department before Blackstone employees went in to work that day.
About two hundred bikes are completely damaged due to the fire, which also burned a large hole in the trailer where the bikes were stored.
The fire is suspicious, according to one employee, seeing as the bikes and trailer aren’t particularly flammable. “That’s the freaky part,” said Tyjuan ‘Top 50’ Edwards, Blackstone’s Youth Program leader. “The fire went all the way through the trailer,” Edwards said, even though there seemed to be no good fuel for it to be so catastrophic.
When Edwards showed up to work at nine Tuesday morning both the police and fire department were already there. The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.
The bikes that caught fire were not customer’s bikes—the shop services bicycles. Rather, they were donations that would have gone to the kids who volunteer at Blackstone.
The youth program at Blackstone encourages neighborhood children to volunteer fixing up bicycles. In return for twenty-five hours of service, the kids are rewarded with a new bike.
“This hurts. These are bikes that kids would be getting. We have kids in the [volunteer] program who earned them,” Edwards said.
Despite the setback, Blackstone will still have a campus bike sale this Sunday. However, because the fire destroyed some bikes that would’ve been fixed up for sale fewer than originally intended will be made available.
“We usually sell everything,” said Edwards speaking of the bikes sales Blackstone occasionally has on campus. Unfortunately, for this sale, “we can’t maximize our potential,” he said.
All of the damaged bikes will be scrapped and the hole in the trailer will be patched up so that the bike shop can continue to use it for bike storage, Edwards said.
“We hope the communities rallies around us to help us out,” he added, referring to the shop's need for donated bikes.