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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Fire claims furniture warehouse

UF students could see the smoke from campus.

Even closer to the scene, city employees mowing the grass along Southwest 42nd Street could see bits of ash falling from the sky Monday afternoon as Gainesville Discount Mattress and Furniture Warehouse, an 11,100-square-foot building, burned for more than an hour.

The fire was probably started by an electrical problem, Gainesville Fire Rescue District Chief Rusty Barrett said.

When fire crews responded, about half the building was engulfed, Barrett said.

Two people were in the building at the time, but there were no injuries or deaths.

The entire building was burned.

The warehouse, part of a complex at 3424 SW 42nd Way, caught fire at about 2:55 p.m., Barrett said.

Both county and city fire officials responded to the scene, and portions of Southwest 40th Boulevard were closed while the fire was being contained.

John Kenney works at Kinetic Concepts Inc. in a building next door to the warehouse.

"I clocked in at 3 and that's when they told us to leave the building," Kenney said.

As fire and police officials evacuated the area, the power was cut to parts of the complex to prevent the fire from spreading across power lines.

"It started popping, and the fire started going across to the pole," said Craig Birkmaier, head brewer of Swamp Head Brewery.

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His building was one of few that had the same three-phase electrical service as the warehouse.

"We have beer that could be going bad, and they can't do anything about it," he said.

At the time of print, an investigation was pending.

A woman watches a smoke plume over Southwest 42nd Street on Monday afternoon. The fire consumed all of an 11,100-square-foot furniture warehouse.

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