Fire destroys antique shop, cafe Agora

October 31, 2010 1:51:18 PM PDT
A three-alarm fire destroyed an antique store and damaged a popular coffee shop. People who live nearby in Montrose say it's a big loss for their neighborhood. The fire started early Halloween morning off Westheimer and Park. Edwin Gallaher says he just couldn't control the tears after waking up to the popular Montrose coffee shop and the antique store on his neighborhood corner for more than 60 years now destroyed.

"I'm sorry I'm so upset; it's just to me, it's like uh, it's just crushing," Gallaher said. "It just made me cry."

Cell phone video from a coffee shop customer shows the devastation. Firefighters say the blaze started at the Antique Warehaus, gutting it, then quickly spreading to the Agora coffee shop next door; dozens of customers inside the two story building rushed out before the flame made it over.

"I was here yesterday around 1 o'clock for my morning coffee; today it's all up in smoke," Agora customer Hicham Tahri said.

Juan Fernandez, whose art gallery is attached to the back of the antique shop, had water damage. But miraculously, all 80 of his oil paintings were salvaged. He says he is now praying for the other two business owners.

"They struggle so much to be here to sell and make a living, just like I do, and I feel for them," Fernandez said. "I don't know what to say to them."

The fire went three alarms before firefighters got it out. No injuries were reported.

Arson investigators are still looking into was caused this fire and if it was intentionally set.

Meanwhile, neighbors say they are hoping both of the beloved shops will be rebuilt.


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