Fire prevents South Jersey barber shop from opening in Pennssauken


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WATCH: South Jersey barber outlets start to reopen after the COVID-19 shutdown.

Cherry Hill Courier-Submit

PENNSAUKEN — Like all barbers within the state, Jose Lopez was pressured to shut up store in March because the coronavirus unfold.

However Gov. Phile Murphy’s govt order hasn’t been the one downside Lopez has confronted lately.

In April the barber’s younger son was recognized with a uncommon kidney illness after greater than a month in hospitals, resulting in costly medical prices and a GoFundMe effort to assist the household pay these payments.

Then in Might a suspicious basement fireplace erupted in his still-closed Acquired Reduce? barber store on River Street within the Delair part of Pennsauken. The injury has prevented him from reopening and rehiring his 5 barbers since June 22 when the governor lifted the emergency coronavirus ban on barber store operations.

“I need to reopen as quickly as attainable, however I do not know when that will likely be as plenty of work needs to be completed first,” stated Lopez, who stays upbeat regardless of the enterprise and well being calamities which have befallen him and his household as in addition they deal with the stress of retaining members of the family protected from coronavirus.

“The hearth was a significant monetary setback for my enterprise and I simply need to get again to my store to help my household and the staff who labored there.”

Pennsauken police and the township fireplace marshal are nonetheless investigating the Might 13 blaze that triggered injury to the basement and in addition smoke injury to the constructing.

However in a latest replace on the fireplace Capt. Daniel Kerr Jr., the native fireplace marshal, lately concluded the fireplace was set, calling it “incendiary.” Nobody has been charged and police say Lopez shouldn’t be a suspect. No different particulars are being launched due to the lively investigation, Kerr stated this week.

“I used to be at my Pennsauken dwelling on the time. The store constructing was closed and all locked up. It was a neighbor throughout the road from the barber store who noticed the fireplace and reported it,” Lopez defined. “I don’t know who would need to do that.”

In the meantime, the 37-year-old Lopez was provided and accepted a brief barber job along with his former employer and mentor Jibril Smitherman, who operates Barbers Lounge on Maple Avenue in Pennsauken. Smitherman additionally was capable of rent two of Lopez’s barbers.

“We had saved in contact and I used to be glad I used to be ready to assist,” stated Smitherman, who additionally teaches cosmetology at Pennsauken Excessive College, Lopez’s alma mater.

“Joe may be very onerous working and intensely fastidious about sanitizing and security within the store.

Repairs on the constructing Lopez leases for his enterprise haven’t begun as a consequence of insurance coverage firm and allowing issues. Lopez stated there additionally was injury to {the electrical} system.

The barber store is on a spacious first flooring geared up with greater than barber stations and sinks. It has a youngsters’s hair-cutting room and adjoining playroom in addition to a males’s lounge. Lopez opened his nook Acquired Reduce? in 2018 in a former U.S. publish workplace.

“There’s loads of room for social distancing,” he defined. ”Final yr we gave free back-to-school haircuts for boys, however that gained’t occur this yr.”

Lopez’s son, Little Joey, who turned 6 this month, was out of the blue hospitalized in March for a month earlier than he was lastly recognized at St. Christopher’s Hospital in Philadelphia with an auto-immune kidney illness that may be a rarity for a teen — IGA Nephropathy/Bergers Illness.

Lopez stated the illness already has broken his son’s kidney operate, has no treatment and ultimately would require a kidney transplant for Little Joey to outlive.

Lopez stated one among his son’s costly chemotherapy medicines prices near $1,000 and isn’t lined by insurance coverage.

“As a father in desperation I needed to swallow my pleasure and ask for assist, so we created a GoFundMe web page for Little Joey to assist along with his present and future medical payments and prescriptions.

The marketing campaign lately crested $9,000 in donations, $1,000 greater than the unique aim.

“Joey I having a tough time adjusting and we do not know if he can return to high school in September,” his father stated.

“The illness has taken a toll on him mentally and bodily. He sleeps quite a bit however does handle to play some and all the time has a smile.”

 And one way or the other his father and mom are coping regardless that every month they have to resolve which payments to pay.

“I’m praying on daily basis as a person of religion and preserve a constructive and hopeful outlook. There could also be a rainbow on the finish of those storms, however it could take time to point out up.”

To donate to the marketing campaign, go to

Anybody with details about the fireplace is inspired to contact Lt. Edward Paul of the

Pennsauken Fireplace Marshal’s Workplace at 856-665-0774 ext. 20, or Detective Anthony Angelone of the Pennsauken Police Division at 856-488-0080 ext. 2404.

Carol Comegno loves telling tales about South Jersey historical past and our army veterans. Her ebook, “The Battleship USS New Jersey: From Delivery to Berth” is the definitive historical past of the battleship. When you’ve got a narrative to share, name her at 856-486-2473 or electronic mail

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