ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Three businesses damaged by a February fire in Ann Arbor are still unsure when they will reopen.

Fire crews were called to the Cranbrook Village Mall at 914 W. Eisenhower Parkways on Feb. 8 after flames were reported coming from the Big Blue Swim School shed, which was under construction at the time.

Damage from the fire was estimated at US$250,000, it was reported at the time. Neighboring businesses PetPeople, DiBella’s Subs, Sherwin-Williams Paint Store and Ethan Allen were closed immediately after the fire, Ethan Allen and PetPeople reopened shortly after.

However, Big Blue Swim School, DiBella’s Subs and Sherwin-Williams remain closed after seven months.

Although the debris has been removed, the storefront is still visibly damaged. Some demolition and renovations began in the past two weeks, Hiag Avsharan, owner of Big Blue Swim School, told MLive in an email.

“Most of what is visible from the outside is the (demolition) work that involved the removal of almost the entire front wall and the entire facade structure, including some steel beams that were warped by the heat of the fire,” Ausharan wrote. “Inside the room, the demo began removing the drywall and treating all the steel studs to make sure there was no smell of smoke.”

Construction was originally scheduled to begin in August 2021 with an anticipated opening date of early 2022. Avsharan said the school should now open “no earlier than February, no later than April.”

“But these are only guesses,” he added.

DiBella’s Subs is also working on reopening, AJ Shear, a spokesperson for the company, told MLive in an email.

“100 percent still planning to open as soon as we can,” Shear wrote. “…We are getting there slowly but surely. There are a lot of moving parts in this situation with builders/general contractors, insurance, property management, etc.”

The cause of the fire was electrical, Ann Arbor Fire Chief Mike Kennedy told MLive in an email.

“There were multiple potential sources of electricity, so our fire marshal couldn’t say exactly what the point of failure was,” Kennedy said. “However, arson and other sources have been ruled out.”

Sherwin-Williams did not respond to a request for comment.

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