No one injured after tractor dealership destroyed in fire - KCTV5

No one injured after tractor dealership destroyed in fire

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HIGGINSVILLE, MO (KCTV) -

Firefighters needed hours to get a massive blaze out at the John Deere dealership in Higginsville.

Callers to 911 reported the flames about 9:30 p.m. Thursday. The cause is under investigation. No one was hurt.

Several KCTV5 viewers reported hearing explosions as flames devoured the equipment and the building.

Ag-Power Inc. is located at 1880 Highway Blvd., which is just off Interstate 70, and sells John Deere and other agricultural equipment. Higginsville is about an hour east of Kansas City.

As the fire raged, concerned onlookers flocked to the area. More came to see the extensive damage during the daylight hours.

"This is big news for Higginsville," said Cecilia Williams whose sons helped battle the blaze. "Something like this doesn't happen very often. This is pretty shocking for this little town. It's going to hurt but we'll survive."

The store employed 23 and had a service department. Gasoline helped fuel the blaze, which sent thick black smoke and flames into the air.

Manager Jason Reichert said the damage is devastating, but he like so many are relieved it didn't happen during daytime when it would have been packed.

"The number one thing is this was after hours so no one was hurt," he said. "Everyone was safe."

The company owns five other dealerships in west-central Missouri with four within a half hour's drive. The hope is to provide all the affected employees a job at one of those locations.

Reichert said he couldn't believe what he was hearing when he got a phone call about the fire.

"It was one of those surreal moments where you really don't know what to say or what to do," he said. "It's all gone now."

He said he quickly focused on developing a plan to "fix the problem."

The store was formerly Anson Implements Inc. It was opened four decades ago. The current owners bought the business in 2003.

Jill Sutherland, whose family owned the business for years, said the loss is devastating for Higginsville.

"It was one of the main businesses in town. A lot of people came here," she said. "I'm sure this will be the talk for quite a while because of all the friends and neighbors and concern for each other."

Higginsville firefighters also had to battle a separate second fire at a house at 2nd and Walnut streets. That one broke out about 11 p.m. Thursday.

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