NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Fire crews from three departments worked for hours Tuesday to extinguish a fire at the 21,000-square-foot Pioneer Building in North Kansas City.
Firefighters say the three-alarm blaze took a lot of resources and a lot of manpower to get it under control. Unfavorable weather conditions didn’t help.
“Our two biggest challenges with this fire was the wind, which actually stokes the fire up, and then it was in a void space within the building. It was in between two ceilings,” Chief Dave Hargis with the North Kansas City Fire Department said.
North KC business owners located near where the flames broke out said they watched nervously as crews tried to get the flames under control.
“The winds are just brutal. All it would have taken is a little wind direction change. I was very nervous about what would happen to the whole neighborhood,” said Jef Dover, owner of Le Monde Bakery.
Dover said this isn’t the first time he’s seen a devastating fire at this very same intersection.
"The building on the corner burned to the ground about 25 years ago, there was an old Mexican restaurant in there, so we’ve seen big fires like this on this intersection unfortunately," Dover said.
He said this fire has destroyed an iconic staple of North Kansas City.
“I hate to see it go because that truly is an old building. There are a lot of old postcards that show a horse and buggy and old Model T’s driving down the street and that’s the building that’s in one of the photos. It’s been down here forever and to see it completely destroyed like this it’s It’s sad for the history of North Kansas City,” Dover said.
A North Kansas City official confirms 13 businesses were located inside. Everyone got out safely. Fire crews will be on scene overnight to make sure things don’t flare back up.