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Historical building left destroyed inside after fire

florence fire
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Posted at 10:17 AM, Aug 05, 2021

FLORENCE — On Thursday, an overnight fire that broke out in downtown Florence closed portions of Highway 115 for several hours.

The fire happened inside the Farmer's Insurance building on North Santa Fe Avenue.

Alexis Thacker was walking her dog around 11:45 pm on Wednesday evening when she saw the flames on the second floor of a building.

"There was popping noises. I heard the fire alarm going off… I knew... It’s been burning for a while,” said Thacker.

There's no word on a possible cause. The damage to the inside of the building appears extensive.

“You don’t know what could blow up! What could happen! How out of control it could get. It was very scary," said Thacker.

Highway 115 closed at Highway 67 as crews from the Florence Volunteer Fire Department had to clean up and survey the damage.

“Main Street fires are the fires that we’re afraid of because the buildings are so old and there’s so many hidden chases in there for the fire to travel through, which is what happened on this one,” said Bill Writter, the Fire Chief with the Florence Volunteer Fire Department.

“We have volunteers who are dedicated to the community, it shows. It’s all them. They go. I’m proud to work with them.”

At around 11 a.m. the Fire Department began to clear out, and people on the street began to help retrieve belongings from the building.

News 5 was told that no one was hurt. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. It did not spread to any of the surrounding buildings.