KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A popular Midtown CBD shop goes up in smoke.
Owners at Dr. Smoke, which sits at 39th Terrace and Broadway Boulevard, want to know who started a fire that’s cost them thousands of dollars and put lives at risk. The store’s owner is offering a cash reward for useful information.
“We put our blood, sweat and tears into this,” J.C. Cirese, Dr. Smoke’s owner, said.
It was all nearly ruined on Sunday. Cirese said the store burst into flames on Sunday just after closing time at 7 p.m. Five staff members were still inside the store and customers had just left. Cirese founded Dr. Smoke four years ago.
“As I turned the corner, I saw flames erupting from the back. I ran out and grabbed the hose to try to extinguish it,” Cirese said on Tuesday.
Dr. Smoke’s surveillance cameras recorded a man throwing a flaming object into the store’s rear entrance. Cirese said it didn’t take long for the entire building to be swallowed by flames.
“It was devastating. Me and my crew have spent the last four years building this up from the ground. It was really heartbreaking to see it go up so quickly,” Cirese said.
A spokesperson for Kansas City Police said an arson investigator is working this case. Photos Cirese shared with FOX4 show a lot of damage to the store’s retail and storage areas. A big sign on the store’s front door tells customers the store is closed until further notice.
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“I’m trying to remain cool, but internally, I’m distraught. I’m upset,” Daemon Bausby, a frequent customer, said. “I’m upset that I don’t have access to my medicine. I’m upset this could potentially cause them to not be in business anymore. They could lose customers.”
Cirese said he lost at least $200,000 in equipment and products in this fire. He’s offering a cash reward for information.