'Family' picks up the pieces after fire

Raindance Traders has long history in Kingman

ERIN TAYLOR/Miner<br>Rain Dance Trader employee Louise Douchette salvages silver from the remnants of a blaze Friday that destroyed the building.

ERIN TAYLOR/Miner<br>Rain Dance Trader employee Louise Douchette salvages silver from the remnants of a blaze Friday that destroyed the building.

KINGMAN - Investigators believe it was an electrical problem in the office that was responsible for Friday's fire that destroyed an iconic business on Beale Street.

Raindance Traders had closed up shop for the day at 5 p.m. Friday when employees began receiving calls 45 minutes later that the building was on fire.

"Standing here watching this burn was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do," said Louise Douchette, who had made jewelry and manned the counter for more than six years.

Raindance Traders was owned by David Freeland Jr., who bought the business from local resident Ernie Scott around 30 years ago. The building, which was constructed in 1945, was an old Army barracks sold off after World War II.

David Freeland Sr., who helped his son operate the business, said all of the buildings records were in the office and were destroyed in the fire.

Friends and employees worked throughout the weekend sifting through the debris to find anything worth salvaging, which wasn't much. The business sold everything from precious metals and jewelry to unusual and one-of-a-kind bric-a-brac.

"The biggest loss wasn't anything of monetary value, but the friendships and all the hard work that went into it," Douchette said as she cleaned silver beads that were recovered. "This wasn't really work. It was a family."

Douchette said many crafters and area Native Americans visited the store to buy turquoise brought in from local mines to be used in jewelry. The purple building also attracted tourists who made Rain Dance Trader a destination.

"We had people who came here repeatedly from overseas - France, Germany, Switzerland - just to stop in and see what's new," she said.

Freeland Sr. said he doesn't know whether his son, who was unavailable for comment Monday, planned to reopen or not. The business will be allowing residents who can find a use for the building's wood to visit the location today for free pick up.