While a devastating fire in downtown Olympia on December 15 brought disruption and heartache, it also delivered a generous response from Olympia Computer. The local computer repair and technical support company is assisting the fire victims, firefighters and donors. CEO Erik Johnson says his company is offering them $1,000 in free computer labor in 2022.
Olympia Computer’s offer extends to the business victims of the fire and their employees, firefighters who responded to the blaze and to persons who donate $100 or more to any of the funding sites helping the businesses recover. The City of Olympia has a list of fire victims and the fire relief funding sites receiving donations.
Olympia Computer’s technicians provide computer repair services and support to businesses, organizations and individuals. Olympia Computer is at 209 Washington St. NE, just down the block and around the corner from the December fire that destroyed and damaged buildings and businesses at Capitol Way North between Olympia Way Northwest and Thurston Avenue Northwest.
While the fire spared Olympia Computer, the blaze destroyed the under-construction Market Flats apartment complex and seriously damaged almost a dozen nearby small businesses. Damage is estimated to be between $5 and $7 million. Federal and state investigators believe the fire was arson. The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible.
Johnson says he heard about the early morning three-alarm fire when his employees told him that they could not get into their building because the entire area was cordoned off. He says he recognizes that his business was fortunate. “We had no damage,” he says. “We were very lucky. We were far enough away. It didn’t carry to the block we were on.”
However, Johnson knows the same was not true for several nearby businesses, including Sound Audio Repair, which services stereos, tube amps, guitar amps, tape machines, speakers and more. The fire, smoke and water damaged its equipment and the building. Owner Sam Gray says his business had to vacate and he is taking steps to lease space at a new location. He hopes to re-open in March.
Meanwhile, Sound Audio Repair’s former downtown storefront is boarded up. Gray says he used Olympia Computer when moving his business from the fire-damaged building. “Basically, the day we moved out of the space, I threw the computers in a big box and took them to Olympia Computer,” he explains. “I told them they got a lot of water and smoke, and I hadn’t turned them on yet. I asked for them Olympia Computer to check them out.”
After delivery of those units, Johnson says his technicians took the computers apart, vacuumed the interiors and blew out dust, wiped them down with alcohol, looked for damaged parts, re-assembled them and reviewed the units with a magnifying glass. Gray says Olympia Computer successfully cleaned and repaired Sound Audio Repair’s computers. “It felt so nice for them to reach out to everyone hit by the fire,” Gray adds. “That was a big chunk of work. Everyone there was kind and communicative. They answered all my questions.” In addition to cleaning computer units damaged by fire, smoke or water, Johnson says his technicians can determine if they are able to recover data.
Gray adds that Community Print, a volunteer-run nonprofit that was located with Sound Repair Audio, was another business hit hard by the fire and in need of support. Community Print is on the City’s list of businesses seeking donations. Meanwhile, Gray says his good experience working with Olympia Computer on the fire damage at his business means in the future, he plans to bring that company his home computer work as well.
As a member of the Olympia Host Lions Club, Olympia Downtown Alliance, and the local Chamber of Commerce, Johnson says he wants to support downtown and make it stronger. That’s why he looked for a way to help after the fire. He and his staff engage in other efforts as well, like assisting with area clean-ups. “We’ve done things like that to make downtown a better place, a nicer place,” he says.
Olympia Computer provides a full range of computer technical support services in Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater, as well as surrounding areas. The business implemented COVID-19 protection efforts including curbside drop off and remote support. In fact, Johnson says the demand for remote computer technical support doubled in the pandemic because so many employees are now working from home.
209 Washington Street NE, Olympia