Fire damages 80-year-old business in KCK just before busy season

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A family business for three generations is the scene of three alarm Sunday fire. “It’s what my grandfather started, it’s all my father knows, and I grew up in it, and this is all I know,” said the business owner.

By Sunday evening, the windows of Armourdale Furniture were already boarded up. KCK Fire Chief John Paul Jones said the fire was so big it could’ve spread down the block, but thanks to a quick response, it was contained to the building at 633 Kansas Avenue.

Firefighters attacked it from two ways: getting down under the floors and into the crawl space to fight it; using the huge fan of the airboat to push the dark smoke out of the business and through is front windows.

Fire Chief Jones said he was “really proud” of how his firefighters tackled this one. Regarding those who went into the crawl space, he said, “it’s a precarious thing, to send them down underneath there. It’s almost like sending them underwater, going down in there.”

Armourdale Furniture is a business that opened in 1937 — 80 years ago.

“(This store is) a staple in our family, but also a staple in the community. We’re really community based. I deal with third generation customers,” said Brian Gersh.

He  said the last time it had to deal with any damage this bad was with flooding back in 1952. Gersh told FOX 4 he was having a crawl space remodeled; that’s where the fire started, though he doesn’t know how.

Gersh also doesn’t know the extent of the damage to the inside or the inventory.  However, he said that’s not the important part. “Everything’s insured,” he said. “We’re talking about material goods. Nobody was hurt, we’ll rebuild, we’re really confident we’ll move forward from here.”

Gersh said his store is closed on Sundays, but Monday, he and his sales staff will be at the store, to figure out what to do next. He has 15 employees, and he says he’s concerned how this fire and the aftermath will impact them.

“It’s our busy season, we have employees that rely on the business,” he said. “We can’t rely on the business going into Christmas, and that’s just awful.”

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