An early morning, two-alarm fire that heavily damaged a South Lawrence carpet store and cigarette shop is under investigation.
No one was injured in the fire, which broke out in the GCO Carpet and Color Tile Outlet building, 3000 Iowa, said Jerry Karr, battalion chief with Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical.
Smoker Friendly Cigarette Outlet, in the southwest section of the building, sustained smoke damage, Karr said.
Damage and loss estimates were still being compiled Saturday but the contents of both stores were a total loss, Karr said. The building, which houses both stores and is owned by Jerry Jennings, is repairable, he said.
Firefighters responded to the alarm at 1:49 a.m. Saturday. The first truck on the scene reported heavy smoke but no visible fire, Karr said.
"Once they got inside, they found the flames," Karr said.
At one point the flames burned through the roof of the carpet store and caused firefighters inside to evacuate. Two aerial trucks poured water on the fire. It was brought under control at 3:12 a.m., Karr said. A total of 23 firefighters fought the blaze.
Lawrence fire investigators and a few other firefighters remained at the scene most of Saturday conducting an investigation. Karr declined to speculate on a possible cause.
"We're looking at everything, and we're open to everything," he said.
Saturday afternoon, Jennings still had not been contacted about the fire. He was in the Kansas City area attending a meeting, said his father, Bud Jennings, who owns Bud Jennings Carpet One at 29th and Iowa, across the street from the scene of the fire.
Bud Jennings said his son's carpet business would be reopened but he was unsure how long it would take.
Attempts were being made Saturday to contact the cigarette store owners, as well, Karr and Bud Jennings said.