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Attorney relocates office after Christmas night fire

Published: Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com)
Attorney Paula Rieghns checks her cell phone at her new office in Marengo. On Christmas, a mysterious fire destroyed her office and had the attorney worried about her safety. She is putting the final touches on her new office space and settling back into a more normal routine.
Caption
(Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com)
Divorce lawyer Paula Rieghns looks at a box of the few items that were saved after a mysterious fire destroyed her old office in Marengo on Christmas night.

MARENGO – Inside a new office, divorce attorney Paula Rieghns still conducts business, even though not all of the furniture has arrived and files are still in boxes.

Rieghns is in the process of moving in and setting up at 205 N. State St. Her previous office at 821 E. Grant St. was destroyed by a fire Christmas night.

Out of the six units connected in the strip mall, Rieghns’ office was the only one affected by the fire. Marengo Police Chief Joseph Hallman said the fire is still under investigation. Everything in the office was destroyed or severely damaged

“We lost everything,” Rieghns said. “It was like a bomb went off; everything was gone.”

After the fire, Rieghns and business manager Jennifer Drendel went to work to find a new location.

They found the new location on  State Street about a week after the fire and started moving the first week of January. Moving to the new location and buying new equipment and furniture cost about $20,000. Insurance covered the expenses.

Furniture is in the process of being delivered, and file cabinets have been moved in.

After the fire, Rieghns has decided to take some extra security precautions. Cameras are set to be installed at the new location, and Rieghns and Drendel have taken gun safety courses.

The new office is in a converted house that is about 150 years old. Rieghns shares the building with an eye doctor on the first floor. The second floor is an apartment.

Rieghns has set up her personal working area in a former dining room. Part of the reception area is over what used to be a porch.

Workers restored the Victorian baseboards to go with the feel of the building, Rieghns said.

Even as Rieghns and Drendel have moved and set up the new location, working with clients has had to continue.

“A divorce is the most important part in someone’s life, or custody battle,” Rieghns said. “I’m not going to let something like this keep me from giving you the best service possible. Your divorce isn’t going to be put on hold just because someone threw a bomb in my office.”

Other attorneys have been helpful and understanding, Rieghns said. Only a few cases have had to be delayed.

Files also had online backups, Rieghns said.

“It hasn’t affected quality of work, and it hasn’t affected my ability to represent them and make sure their best interest is being served,” Rieghns said.

Before the fire, Rieghns had been at her Grant Street office for about six months and had just finished setting up and decorating the office with items such as art on the walls, only to have to move again.

They had to order new furniture, computers and printers and other equipment. They also plan to decorate the new office.

“But we’re going to make this place work too,” Rieghns said.

“We’re happy to be here,” Rieghns said. “It’s a great location, it feels very homey. It feels very Marengo like. It’s a nice location.”

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The Law Office of Paula Rieghns

Where: 205 N. State St., Marengo

Phone: 815-901-2273

Website: www.differentlawpractice.com

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