I’d like to tell you I saw some smokin’ deals at the U.S. Outdoor Store this morning. But instead, today I couldn’t help but notice that the store, which sits right outside my office window on Broadway, suffered smoke and fire damage last night thanks to a fire underneath one of their four exterior awnings.

According to Todd Sexton, the store’s manager, the blaze started around 4 or 5 a.m. inside their cardboard recycling bin, which is kept outside, beneath the awnings (the one labeled "Snow"). “This is our busiest time of year,” says Sexton while noting that his store receives several large shipments of boxes a week, each filled with winter sporting goods. He doesn’t know yet if the blaze was intentionally set, or if it was an errant cigarette that lit the wick, but Sexton does suspect foul play.

Total damages haven’t been tabulated yet, but Sexton says that the store lucked out, as the conflagration didn’t damage any inventory inside. One thing is clear, though, “This is going to take some time to clean up,” Sexton says. The awnings cost about $700 to replace and take several weeks to order. “We’re gonna be a little scarred,” he says.

In today’s tough retail climate, no business should have to endure undue hardships. So if you’re downtown this week, consider stopping by to give U.S. Outdoor some retail love.

Still, Sexton is keeping his humor about the situation. “We are having a sale right, now,” he says. “I guess we’ll just call it a fire sale.”