The house containing Whispering Pines of Chappaqua may have been irreparably damaged from last Friday’s devastating early morning blaze but the popular floral shop is expected to soon be back in business.
Stetson Hundgen, the son of owner Beth Hundgen, said Monday his mother is in the process of searching for a temporary location in and around Chappaqua and is looking forward to resuming filling her orders during one of the busiest stretches of the year.
“We will be back,” Hundgen said. “We don’t know where but we’re looking for a location.”
It would probably take two to three days after a temporary place is found for the family-owned business to be up and running, he said.
Whispering Pines and the seven residents who lived in three upstairs apartments in the early 20th century wood structure at 91 Bedford Rd. were displaced following the raging inferno that was reported shortly after 1 a.m. on Apr. 11. All of the residents escaped without injuries.
Firefighters from the Chappaqua Fire Department and several surrounding departments took about four hours to get the blaze under control, according to authorities. The house has since been condemned by the town and fenced off and will have to be torn down.
Despite the loss of Whispering Pines’ home and the three apartments that housed the seven residents, including a family with a child and four other adults, the fact that no one was hurt was reason to be thankful. One resident needed to use the fire escape.
“One of the residents woke up and saw the flames outside,” Hundgen said. “He woke everybody up and they exited safely.”
It was not immediately known what caused the fire, although Hundgen said he was told the fire started outside and quickly spread upward. The county’s Cause and Origin Team is investigating the matter.
Red Cross provided the suddenly homeless residents with three days of emergency shelter at the Holiday Inn in Mount Kisco. Red Cross volunteer Carolyn Sherwin said they were all successfully relocated and financial support and other items were coming in. Following the weekend, each househol was staying temporarily with friends or family.
Although everyone managed to leave the premises without any problems, all of their possessions were gone.
“They lost everything,” Sherwin said.
Sherwin said there hsa been impressive support to help the families get back on their feet.
“The generosity of the Chappaqua community has been phenomenal,” she said.
Meanwhile, Whispering Pines, which has been in Chappaqua for the last 11 years and in business since Beth Hundgen’s father started the business in Somers in the 1950s, will fill its orders as quickly as possible. Not only is this Passover and Easter week, when flowers and plants are in heavy demand, but Mother’s Day, one of Whispering Pines’ two busiest days of the year, is fast approaching along with a busy wedding and Bar Mitzvah season, Hundgen said.
To donate items or money to the displaced families, contact the Red Cross at its Metro New York North office in Greenwich, Conn. at 203-869-8444.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/