By Kim Morava and Vicky O. Misa
Large plumes of thick smoke filled the skies Friday night as a fire destroyed an old potting shed behind Graves Floral at 1525 N. Broadway.
Despite intense blazes nearby, most of the floral business — and several nearby homes along Broadway and those that support the business — were spared any damage.
“The flower shop is fine! Our back shed burned down,” Graves Floral posted on her Facebook pagewhile also noting a “huge thank you” to the Shawnee Fire Department for their quick response.
Shawnee Fire Marshal David Anderson said Monday that while the blaze is still officially listed as undetermined, they believe wind blowing over a tree in a power line is what started the blaze.
Owned by Bob and Pam Fincher, Graves Floral has operated in Shawnee since 1908. The fire impacted the store’s power and phone lines, but they hope to have everything back up and running soon, Pam Fincher said Monday.
It was around 5:20 p.m. Friday when firefighters responded to the blaze.
Pam Fincher said they were inside the business when they heard a “pop” from the transformer in the back, then had electrical problems inside. Many called 911 and Shawnee firefighters were quick to arrive on the scene.
The old potting shed that burned down was no longer in use in their operations, Pam Fincher said, adding that they were also dismantling and disconnecting some older greenhouses behind the store recently, so many glass panels were already broken.
Continued:Firefighters extinguish fire around Shawnee flower shop
‘It was scary’
Former city manager Chance Allison found herself at the forefront of this unexpected event. His house is immediately east of the structure that caught fire.
He said he was just down the block at his parents’ house when he heard about what was happening.
Someone pulled up in her parents’ driveway and told them a house was on fire behind them – that’s where Allison’s house is, he said.
“When we came back to our yard, we saw it was this building (just west of the property),” he said. “It was scary.”
Allison said that by soaking her retaining wall and fence with water, the heat from the fire was almost unbearable; only a narrow lane separates his property from the two-storey potting shed which was then completely on fire.
In fact, the blaze crossed the roadway, igniting a utility pole at the edge of his property, which he said started sparking above his head.
Additionally, a much smaller shed-like structure on the Graves Floral property caught fire, forcing the SFD to deal with it as well.
A little further north, across a gravel path, visibly scorched grass could be seen down to the brickwork of a recently constructed house just north of the building, as well as parts of the back yard, although A brand new privacy fence appeared to be in good shape.
Just across the street on Broadway, directly west of Graves Floral, Tate and Tiffany Monroe had a bird’s eye view of the fire. According to video shot at 5:20 p.m. from their second floor, they captured a view of the structure as it was completely engulfed in flames.
Tate Monroe said he was really impressed with the efforts of the Shawnee firefighters.
“They did a great job,” he said.
Brandi Holmes, a resident who lives a few houses north, was making updates via Facebook posts as loved ones shared concerns for her well-being.
Additionally, Mayor Ed Bolt and his wife, Phyllis, who live a few blocks away, were at the scene along with many other neighborhood residents who were assessing the danger.
Several in the immediate area were without power Friday night, but most homes had power restored later that night.
No known damage has been reported to nearby homes.
Pam Fincher said they appreciate all the well wishes from neighbors and customers.