Investigators still aren’t sure what started a fire in the upstairs apartment over a Delano district tattoo parlor Friday afternoon but witnesses say they heard an explosion before flames and smoke broke out.
When fire crews arrived at Bullwinkles Tattoo, 929 W. Douglas, they saw fire and heavy smoke pouring from the second floor of the building, Wichita Fire Chief Ronald Blackwell said Friday. The flames were contained on the upper floor of the building, causing extensive fire and smoke damage to its contents. Damage estimates are still unknown, he said.
The tattoo parlor is owned and operated by Dan McClure, who lives above his business with girlfriend Holly Barton. Both say they were downstairs with about half a dozen others when they heard a “loud boom” around 2 p.m. Friday. McClure said he does not own the building.
“I thought someone had hit the garage door,” McClure said.
When asked how he felt about the fire, he said: “I don’t have a clue. It’s still soaking in.”
By the time emergency crews arrived, everyone had evacuated the building, Blackwell said. No injuries were reported.
Wichita police, Emergency Medical Services and the fire department responded to the call. Authorities shut down traffic in the area, including a short closure of the intersection at Douglas and Seneca. Shortly before 4 p.m., most of the fire crews were gone, but barricades still blocked traffic on Douglas from Handley to Seneca.
Blackwell said investigators are still surveying the building adjoining Bullwinkles, which houses Club Billiards, for possible damage.
McClure, who has owned Bullwinkles for 13 years, said Friday that he has no insurance.
“I’ve lost everything,” he said, in a subdued voice.
Barton echoed his tone.
“(I’m) speechless. All of my stuff is up there, too,” she said, including the couple’s cat, which remains missing.