Enormous blaze on Southwest Boulevard sends flames shooting into the air, destroys furniture warehouse

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Massive flames gutted a local furniture store and warehouse -- scrambling firefighters and sending thick black smoke over the Kansas City skyline throughout Tuesday afternoon. The fire at Friday's Only Furniture Store on Southwest Boulevard smoldered well into the night as firefighters continuously monitored the situation.

Nearly 100 firefighters responded to the three-alarm fire, which didn't injure anyone, but caused significant property damage where there was furniture packed on all three stories of the building. The fire broke out just before 3 p.m., and as water was still be dumped on the building after the son went, it appears to be a total loss.

The enormous blaze was a sight that will leave a lasting impact for many, but also sparked unpleasant memories for others.

"It`s coming out the top and I was just immediately hoping there was no one in there," Michael Furhman of Schutte Lumber said.

Furhman owns neighboring Schutte Lumber, and remembered back in 2003 when it was his company going up in flames. He now hopes he`ll be able to lend a helping hand to the folks at Friday's Only.  The building was actually in the middle of repair work, after weekend storms tore off part of the roof, and blew down the sprinkler system.

"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 of Ehinger Properties.

Ehinger Properties owns the building, and says it was full of furniture at the time. The blaze burned so hot that people across the street at Ponak's Mexican Kitchen said they could feel it.

"The heat off of the patio was really surprising, standing in the shade side and feeling like you`re in a sauna over 110 degrees just coming off that building from as far away as it was," general manager John Greer said.

Ponak's and other neighboring business had to evacuate, and hope to reopen for business Wednesday. The cause of the fire hadn't been determined on Tuesday.

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