By Katie McFadden
Local cleaning company Luv Cleaning is facing one of their biggest cleanups yet, and this one is personal. After suffering from a garage fire that destroyed most of the company’s equipment, Luvinia Monge and her crew are hard at work trying to pick up the pieces and forge ahead.
On Thursday, April 13, a fire broke out in the garage of a home near Beach 125th and Newport Avenue. The FDNY received the call at 9:37 p.m. and responded with 12 units and 60 fire personnel to control the blaze. By 10:13 p.m., the fire was out. Fortunately, nobody was hurt in the blaze, and it was contained to the garage.
Unfortunately, the garage belongs to Monge, who used it to store all of the equipment for her cleaning business, Luv Cleaning. Monge and her family were home when the fire broke out in the garage that serves as the homebase for her business and a hangout space for her four children. “We don’t know what started it. It could’ve been from one of the electronics, the TV or soundbar. I was in the garage 20 minutes prior, and it just went up so quickly. Everything happened so fast. I’m grateful that the construction we did inside was done right because it kept the fire contained. There was a lot of smoke and people were smelling it all over Rockaway. I felt so bad,” she said. It was the second hardship of the day for Luv Cleaning. Earlier in the day, someone had sideswiped her business van on Beach 129th Street, almost a year after her van was damaged after being hit while parked on Newport Avenue.
In the fire on Thursday, many items were lost including a TV, a vacuum, Swiffer sticks, cloths, ladders, cleaning supplies, paper files, and even a plaque Monge had of her first article in The Rockaway Times.
Most importantly, no one was harmed, though Monge says she and her family have experienced massive headaches from the smell of the aftermath. But after the initial shock of the headache of the fire impacting her business, there’s been no time to sit back and wait. After all, Luv Cleaning has calls to answer.
Despite the tough day on Thursday, Monge maintains a positive attitude. “I’m not gonna get upset about it. I’m gonna look at it as a blessing. From a point of faith, when everything hits you at once, it means you’re close to your blessing. That’s the only time bad things come because you’re getting a blessing, and that’s how I look at it,” she said.
She remains grateful to the firefighters who acted quickly to put out the fire, and even thanked them by bringing them a fruit platter the next day. She’s also thankful to her Rockaway neighbors who have checked in and offered support. And she’s grateful for her clients who have remained understanding through Luv Cleaning’s hardship after she had to cancel cleaning jobs on Friday.
“If you’re gonna have a business and run a business, the best place to have it is Rockaway. I cannot tell you how many clients and people have reached out with support and prayers. I didn’t cry a tear through this whole situation, but the response had made me a mush. It’s been really overwhelming,” she said.
And with that support, Monge knows she has to keep going. “You gotta keep moving forward. We have a lot of people counting on us,” she said. That’s why over the weekend, Monge and her crew got right to work, trying to replace some of the supplies that were lost so they would be ready to fulfill their jobs starting Monday, April 17. “We were all out this weekend, at Home Depot, buying supplies to get back to work. We got enough to get some of the jobs up and running. I can’t miss a beat, I gotta keep going. My clients need me and we made promises to be there. We have clients having birthday parties and other events, and another client who had their whole house gutted and she’s pregnant and due in a month and I gotta get there,” Monge said. “I promised we would deliver and I’m not gonna go back on my word.”
Monge has been in the cleaning business for eight years and formally started Luv Cleaning in 2018. Her business offers residential cleaning, maintenance, deep cleaning, personal organization, construction cleanup, and even commercial cleaning for clients such as Kennedy’s, Callie’s, Claudette’s, Nurture U Wellness, Baya Bar and others. “There’s nothing we don’t do,” Monge said. Luv Cleaning charges by the hour and does whatever they can in the time allotted from windows to lamps to floors and more.
As she awaits adjusters to inspect her damaged garage before she can rebuild, Monge says the best way to help her out is to simply let Luv Cleaning do what they do best. To book a cleaning job with Luv Cleaning, reach out to business manager Janette Torres at 352-444-9698 or owner, Luvinia Monge at 917-817-3570, or by email at email@example.com
In the meantime, Luv Cleaning is back in action and ready to meet all of Rockaway’s cleaning needs. “You gotta just keep moving,” she said. “You can’t let something like this take you down.”