A mattress-recycling company has reopened in Burnaby after a fire ripped through its south Vancouver depot last week, leaving 45 employees out of work.
Fabio Scaldaferri, owner of Mattress Recycling, had closed up shop at 5 p.m. on May 27, only to receive a call 90 minutes later that a blaze had erupted.
"I couldn't even fathom what was happening there," he told the NOW. "Just seeing it engulfed in flames was really hard for so many reasons. It had taken us so long to get to that point, where we had a great location and a standalone building in Vancouver.”
The Strathcona resident also recently invested $35,000 into the depot, upgrading to a more energy-efficient lighting system.
Roughly 24 hours after the fire, Carlton Ee, the vice president of Burnaby-based company Rolls Right Trucking, contacted Scaldaferri, to let him know of a couple of warehouses to which he could relocate his business.
“I was just so happy to hear from him,” the 31-year-old entrepreneur said.
In the end, Scaldaferri decided to lease 11,000 square feet of space at the former Safeway distribution centre in the Edmonds neighbourhood, which is managed by Rolls Right Trucking. Doors opened Monday, June 1, just four days after the fire broke out.
Getting the business up and running again was very important for Scaldaferri, who added the depot is a "vital piece" of Metro Vancouver's Zero Waste Initiative. His company has processed and recycled over 350,000 mattresses since 2008.
"That translates into big volume, big jobs and major resource recovery because we recycle 90 per cent of each mattress and only the remaining 10 per cent goes to the landfill," he noted.
The private company's 45 employees, meanwhile, have really banded together since the tragedy, Scaldaferri said.
"One guy donated a full day of work even though he worked eight hours; another guy, John, donated $100."
To help replace the equipment that wasn't covered by insurance, a FundAid account has been set up. Nearly $9,000 has been raised so far.
"I can't believe how supportive people have been. It's the sort of thing that I didn't ever think could happen," Scaldaferri told the NOW.
What did survive the flames were some 300,000 honey bees located on the roof - a "passion project" for the recycling team. The bees will be returned to Hives for Humanity, a non-profit organization.
Mattress Recycling's new temporary home is located at 7185 11th Ave. For the time being, it’s open only to commercial customers, but plans to resume residential services are underway.
To donate to the FundAid campaign, visit www.fundaid.ca/fire2forklift.
The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.