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Abilene business 'total loss' after massive blaze

Photo courtesy of the Abilene Fire Department:? Massive blaze at Taylor's Army Surplus on North 1st Street.

ABILENE, Texas - This morning's two-alarm fire at Taylor's Army Surplus City on North 1 st Street was so severe that the building is considered a total loss and demolition has already started.

Demolishing the structure is necessary "to assist with putting out the trapped fire," the Abilene Fire Department said in a news release about noon.

Heather Alvarez was driving her husband to work when she spotted the fire and called 911.

"It was nothing but black smoke," Alvarez said. "... The black smoke was really bad, so I was like that's not right so I called [911] to come out and put [the fire] out."

It also won't be immediately known what ignited the fire at the business in the 4000 block of North 1 st Street.

"Due to the severity of the blaze, it may be some time before the investigators have any evidence of what caused this fire," the fire department release said, noting no one was in the structure at the time of the fire and there were no injuries.

The fire not only destroyed the surplus store but it knocked power out to nearby businesses as well.

Randy Tschacher, the manager at Gibbs Paint and Body, opened his store Wednesday morning. The store is located directly behind Taylor's Army Surplus.

Tschacher was greeted by smoke and flames.

"A lot of flames, you could obviously see it was going to be a major fire and shortly after that we lost power," Tschacher said.

The massive fire damaged power lines above the store, which in turn cut power off to the body shop, slowing their business down.

"At this point it kind of shut us down," Tschacher said. "We obviously use air compressors to do the work and without power we're trying to do everything by hand."

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 6:05 a.m. Wednesday.

"Crews made an initial interior attack, but conditions quickly deteriorated and firefighters were pulled out to make a defensive attack," the release said. "The metal roof created a solid barrier and getting water to the flames was difficult."

A second alarm was sounded to assist firefighters on scene.

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Firefighters battled a massive two-alarm fire Wednesday morning at Taylor's Army Surplus City on North 1 st Street in Abilene.

Ammunition being stored in the business exploded.

North 1 st Street from Pioneer Drive to Leggett Street was immediately closed. Police had to divert traffic.

(VIDEO -} http://www.ktxs.com/39717136)

(PHOTOS -} http://www.ktxs.com/39717016)

Fire officials expressed concern about the blaze spreading to nearby Callaway's Carpet.

Six fire trucks and 24 firefighters were involved in fighting the fire.

No injuries have been reported.

The fire was initially reported at 6:27 a.m. Five minutes later, a second alarm was sounded.

KTXS will provide additional details as they become available.

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