KILGORE, TX (KLTV) - Authorities are still trying to figure out what started a fire that gutted an East Texas business. It happened Wednesday night just before 7 p.m. at Maness Furniture Store, on East Main Street in downtown Kilgore.
The furniture store gave the fire more than enough fuel to completely destroy the business serving East Texas for more than two decades.
Thursday morning meant cleanup time for T.J. Jones, whose shop sits feet away from the now charred store he watched burn. "Police come in and say you got a fire next door is there anybody else in the building," said Jones. "I said no, so he said you need to get out so I grabbed my fire extinguisher and come out here."
The fire extinguisher was too little too late for the blaze authorities say burned at unusually high temperatures.
"You're going to get a lot of toxic smoke and a lot of very dark so it makes visibility very poor and the intense heat makes it tough to fight," said Asst. Kilgore Fire Marshal Ramon Coven.
Tammy Hollemon witnessed the damage for the first time this morning.
"It was shocking to see the store for everyone, but it's what you do now."
For Maness Furniture, they moved on, posting a sign near their old location directing people to a warehouse where plenty of sofas remain.
"We are open for business we are taking payments like normal," said Tammy Hollemon. "We have furniture to sell not as much as we did last night but still have some things and we're just gonna continue and build on."
Maness Furniture tells us the remaining furniture they have to sell is just five percent of what they had before the fire. They say they're open for business a block away from their store on Main Street.