Two Montrose Area Businesses Destroyed by Fire
Posted: 10-31-10Category:The Agora coffeehouse in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston was heavily damaged in an overnight fire that burned down a neighboring antique store. The fire broke out in the 1700 block of Westheimer around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, according to witnesses. The three-alarm blaze quickly consumed an antique shop, identified as Turningleaf Furniture, at the corner of Park Street and Westheimer near Dunlavy. The fire also consumed an upper outdoor patio on Agora, and flames could later be seen shooting from the coffee shop's roof. Patrons inside Agora indicated the shop's employees started shouting for everyone to leave as soon as the fire was first noticed. There were at least 30 to 50 people inside the establishment at the time. Hundreds of passing Halloween-partiers, in costume, gathered in the street as the popular coffeehouse burned. The Houston Fire Department was called to the scene, and traffic was blocked in both directions. Nearly 100 firefighters responded. The cause of the blaze was not immediately known, and an investigation is ongoing; however, some witnesses stated they believed the fire started at the antique shop and then spread to Agora. The heaviest of the flames were first seen at the antique store. Agora appeared to be heavily damaged, if not destroyed. By the time the fire was tapped out around 3:30 a.m., Agora was still standing, but its interior was mostly burned. The neighboring antique shop burned to the ground. Firefighters were able to stop the flames from spreading to nearby homes and businesses, but burned power lines knocked out some power service. Agora is a well-known and respected establishment in the Montrose community that serves Greek coffee and importated beer and wine. Just after 4 a.m. Sunday, its owners and employees were allowed to approach the entrance of the building to get a peak at the damage. They say they had been in business for nine years. According to the Houston Chronicle , the Turningleaf Furniture store, also known as Antique Warehaus, opened in 1990. A similar antique story operated on the site since 1947. The store's owner was devastated by its loss, and it too was a popular shop in the Montrose area.