Kansas City furniture outlet building destroyed by fire will be torn down in short order

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City has placed the former home of Friday's Only Furniture Outlet on its list of dangerous buildings. The owner of the building that was engulfed in flames Tuesday says he plans to tear it down, perhaps as early as Thursday.

“I was sitting right here seeing fire trucks zoom by and ambulances zoom by,” Bob Ehinger said.

Soon Ehinger would find out the massive fire burning just down Southwest Boulevard from his office was at one of his buildings that for years had been home to Friday's Only Furniture Outlet.

Six contractors working for Ehinger Properties Project Manager had been on the roof just about an hour before the fire started trying to repair weekend storm damage that took a 30-by-50 foot section of the roof off the building.

“He was not using any cutting torches or anything like that, his crew does not smoke so I really don’t have no idea,” Ehinger said of the fire's origin or cause.

Ehinger estimates the fire will cost him $400,000. While the furniture company had insurance, he didn’t have insurance on the building.

“We assess the different properties with what we think the fire risks are, and we did fire insurance this spring on that building, but the premium was just too high.”

An initial Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms investigation found no evidence of the fire being intentionally set. ATF spokesperson John Ham said he wouldn’t expect it to be because of the owner's lack of insurance.

"You`ve lost your motive for profit there if you were to set it," Ham said.

Ehinger says he owns roughly 125 buildings throughout the city. He says it’s the fourth time he’s lost a building to fire.

FOX 4 investigated and found only a small number of complaints about the property over the past decades, mainly for weeds or storage of materials outside.

Right now the building owner says he’s waiting for the business to get the okay from their insurance so he can begin demolition on the larger building. He plans to restore the single-story building adjacent to it which suffered only smoke and water damage.

“Someday we will redevelop that area but I don’t know when or exactly or what we are going to put there," Ehinger said.

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