British Columbia

Fire blackens Mama Bear's laundromat, shatters windows and closes family business

Brandon Levitt said his mother had recently taken over the 30-year Mission business she and his dad considered their “biggest accomplishment.”

‘She’s devastated. It was like her prized possession’

A police officer spotted smoke coming from the roof of the Mama Bear's Duds n Suds in Mission. Fire broke out just before 1 a.m. (Mama Bear's Duds n Suds/Facebook)

A Mission family with seven children has been forced to close their new family business after a fire overnight.

Mama Bear's Duds n Suds laundromat on Logan Avenue was discovered on fire at 12:36 a.m.

"A cop saw it as he was driving by. He saw smoke coming from the roof," said the eldest son of the owners, Brandon Levitt, 24.

He posted images of the laundromat's blackened exterior and shattered windows on social media after 36 firefighters put out the flames.

Mission Assistant Fire Chief Norm McLeod said it's unclear where the fire ignited, but it caused heavy damage to the laundromat.

"The unfortunate part is these business folks won't be in operation for several months," he said.

Owner 'devastated'

"My parents put in a stupid amount of energy and hours to get this place running 100%. It was their biggest accomplishment and now we are working to get over this emotional experience," Levitt posted on Facebook.

Levitt said that his mother had recently taken over the 30-year Mission business that his parents considered their "biggest accomplishment."

Smoke was pouring from this laundromat in Mission by 1 a.m. on July 12. The cause of the fire has not been determined. (Mama Bears Duds n Suds/Facebook)

"She's devastated. It was like her prized possession," said Levitt who was awakened by his brother and rushed to the fire in the middle of the night.

Fire not suspicious

Levitt said his family lost their previous home in Port Coquitlam to fire 13 years ago, so this loss hit hard.

Levitt's father is a former sandblaster who retrained and now works with youth after several severe injuries. His mother spent many years at home with their children, one an adopted relative. The children range in age from nine to 24 years of age. Levitt said his mother had recently taken over the laundromat from a previous owner.

RCMP Cpl. Nathan Berze said the fire does not appear suspicious. Fire officials could not confirm the cause or origin of the fire yet. Two adjoining businesses — a café and a pawn shop — were also damaged by smoke but not as seriously.

Elizabeth (Lizzy) Levitt Durocher and Trevor Levitt are childhood sweethearts who have seven children and live in Mission B.C. They recently purchased a longtime Mission B.C. laundromat that caught fire July 12.

About the Author

Yvette Brend is a CBC Vancouver journalist. Yvette.Brend@CBC.ca @ybrend

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