Salamanca Community Reacts to Historical Loss After Fire

September 27, 2013 Updated May 8, 2010 at 9:43 PM EDT

By Kendra Eaglin

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September 27, 2013 Updated May 8, 2010 at 9:43 PM EDT

Emergency crews got the call at about 5:30 last evening. They were on the scene in three minutes. But that still wasn't enough to stop the flames.

As dawn shed new light the true picture of last night's devastating blaze hit residents hard.

"Devastation, it's just so sad all the loss," said Salamanca resident Lynette Sexton.

"I think it's a shame, this building has been here since I was a little girl. I just think it's a big part of Salamanca's history gone," said another Salamanca resident Crystal Sponeybarger.

Philadelphia furniture store had a deep history. It opened its doors in 1911; it was called Fancher Furniture Company then and had over 800 employees at one time. And perhaps someone who knew the business the best, Brian Erickson. He was the owner and president of Fancher Furniture for 41 years. He sold the company in 2000.

"Well, it's the end of an era a lot of mixed emotions most of them very positive and very good. It's a shame," said Erickson.

The furniture store was all in the family for Richard Yehl. His mother and father worked there and he worked there in high school. Now all he has left are memories.

"I remember all the faces all the names, the foremen, the workers, the number of people who made a living here," said Yehl.

The fire completely destroyed the empty furniture store and also an operating laser engraving company called Luminite. Luminite employs over 60 workers, one of them Lynette Sexton's husband, now uncertain about his future.

"He's a little worried, not sure what will happen. Hopefully they'll recoup," said Lynette.

Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire but rumors are swirling that it was arson.

"It's really bad I don't think it should have ever happened. I believe kids started it," said Salamanca resident Teddy Doner.

In the meantime, those with the closest ties to what remains of the now charred buildings are forced to look at the bright side.

"In a lot of ways it's going to open up this area for future development. I guess that's the way we have to look at it," said Yehl.

Philadelphia Furniture had been closed for one year. The furniture store made furniture for the hotel industry and companies like Ethan Allen, Ikea and casinos.