‘That’s our livelihood’: Devastating downtown Coeur d’Alene fire leaves employees looking for work

COEUR d’ALENE, Idaho — As investigators work to figure out what sparked Monday’s devastating fire in downtown Coeur d’Alene, the people who watched their jobs go up in flames are doing their best to bounce back and find work elsewhere.

“It was really scary because that’s our livelihood — it’s like our second home,” said hairstylist Monica Shewfelt said. “I just ran up there and I mean, I just started bawling. Just crying.”

On top of losing their jobs, hairstylists like Shewfelt at the Cole Taylor Salon lost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in supplies and products they paid for throughout their career. Shewfelt told 4 News Now she had just paid off an $800 pair of shears when the salon caught fire. It’s unclear if the stylists will be repaid, as discussions between salon ownership and their insurance company are ongoing.

“We pay to work — we have to supply our color, our sheers, all of our products so that we can work on our clients,” Shewfelt said. “You have to keep positive. [They’re] just things. Everything can be replaced.”

Thursday marked Shewfelt’s first day back on the job and her first day away from Cole Taylor in three years. She found a job just about a mile away, at The Boulevard Salon, since she’s known the owner for years.

“You know, I got, hopefully, what supplies I need and I’m just gonna slowly build up but I do better when I’m busier, so I like to work,” Shewfelt said. “It feels good to be back.”

Shewfelt said her other coworkers at Cole Taylor have also found places to land — but they know not everyone is so lucky.

“You can’t let it get you down. It’s gonna be okay — it might not be easy right now, but I’m not the only one going through it,” she said. “Everything happens for a reason, right? So maybe this is a blessing in disguise for everyone down the road.”