Property owners suing Hopper and Ro for December 2019 fire

Hopper and Ro Paint and Design, and the business owners, are being sued in District Court for the 2019 Christmas Eve fire at their old location st 900 9th St. S.

The property owners, Scott and Tamara Dimke and the Thomas R. Dimke Bypass Trust, are suing the paint store and its owners for negligence and breach of contract related to the fire.

In their civil suit, the Dimke’s said that the Hopper and Ro had lease for the space from March 2018 through March 2021.

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Sometime between the start of the lease and the fire on Dec. 24, 2019, the paint store changed the locks for their space without notifying the property owners or providing keys to the owners, in violation of their lease.

That meant that when the fire broke out on Christmas Eve when the store was closed, the property owners couldn’t give access to the firefighters, according to the lawsuit.

The fire was started, the property owners allege in their lawsuit, by improper disposal of flammable materials.

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In the lawsuit, they argue that the defendants spilled stain in the paint storage room on or around Dec. 21, 2019, and cleaned it up with paper towels and paint thinner. The paper towels were placed in a garbage can near a paint tinter machine that stays on continuously and other electrical devices in the storage room.

The fire was contained to the paint storage room due to fire suppression efforts, but smoke damaged the entire property, according to the lawsuit.

One of the employees was in the store about 30 minutes before the fire started and said he smelled an odor in the paint storage room area but didn’t notice any smoke, according to the lawsuit.

The Popcorn Colonel also leased a space in the building and was closed for nearly a year as a result of the fire.

Hopper and Ro has since moved to 1209 15th St. N., in the Flooring America building.

Rock N Chalk Gymnastics moved into other units in the building in January, next to the Popcorn Colonel.