KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A three-alarm fire at Friday's Only Furniture Store,2915 Southwest Blvd., brought out nearly 100 firefighters, trying to keep it from spreading to other nearby structures like Schutte Lumber.
No one was inside the furniture store when the blaze began at about 2:50 p.m. Repair crews had been inside earlier to fix damage done during the weekend storm, but had left at about 1:30 p.m., after working on the roof.
"We ended up today doing the hand demolition. No cutting torches, no power tools, and were going to start framing in tomorrow morning. Framing crews were going to be there at seven," said Bob Ehinger, the store's owner.
The fire started on the third floor of the building and worked down to the second floor. Kansas City Fire Chief Paul Berardi said there was an internal third-floor collapse. The furniture inside the building is providing plenty of fuel to keep the fire burning, he said.
Of course the fire brought out many spectators; some got there before the fire department.
"Looked out and saw there was big flames and stuff going on here and none of the fire trucks were here yet," said Pat Jones of Patrick's Heating and Cooling, 1625 W 31st Street.
Employees of Schutte Lumber were among the spectators who watched the fire carefully and with difficult memories. On Oct. 12, 2003, a four-alarm fire there destroyed 80 percent of the lumberyard as well as buildings, sheds and two semis.
"It’s hard not to have flashbacks having a fire in 2003 but the fire department was here when I got here and doing the great job they always do to take care of business," said Michael Furhman, owner of Schutte Lumber.
Furhman wasn't at the lumberyard at the time, which is across the street from Friday's Only Furniture Outlet. He said he received calls from many people asking if the lumberyard was on fire.
"I was just immediately hoping there was no one in there," he said of Friday's. "Hopefully be able to lend a hand to our neighbors and move forward."
Chief Berardi commended firefighters for promptly calling in additional firefighters for assistance and reinforcement. The heat of the day and heat from the fire made it necessary to rotate firefighters for their safety.