'Tragic' fire destroys longtime Avon business

AVON -- For more than 50 years, Powers Furniture and Appliance has been a Main Street staple in the small town of Avon. On Wednesday, the business' owners and community members begin to consider life in the town of nearly 600 people without it. O...

An aerial photo shows the remains of the Powers Furniture and Appliance store in Avon, on Wednesday morning in Avon. (Matt Gade / Republic)

AVON - For more than 50 years, Powers Furniture and Appliance has been a Main Street staple in the small town of Avon.

On Wednesday, the business' owners and community members begin to consider life in the town of nearly 600 people without it.

Owners Kenny and Stacey Powers were left to look at the smoky aftermath of the business that has been in the community for 52 years, burned to the ground and a complete loss after catching fire on Tuesday night. It led to more than 80 firefighters from seven area communities to get involved and fight the fire.

"It's tragic, but we're proud of the support we've had from all over," Stacey said. "There is not a thing left inside the store."

It was about 7:20 p.m. on Tuesday that Stacey received a phone call to inform him he and his father's Main Street business was on fire, prompting them to rush to the scene.


"It was sad to see the building up in smoke," Stacey said. "I couldn't believe how much heat was coming from the fire."

The Powers family said they are thankful for their insurance coverage, which they will be meeting an adjuster to discuss further details in the next few days. At this point, they said they haven't discussed plans of re-opening their business

"We aren't thinking that far ahead, but we are just grateful to serve the community for so long," Stacey said.

Upon reaching the scene of the fire, it didn't take long for Avon Fire Chief Kevin Tjeerdsma to realize the Powers' building fire would be one of the worst fires in his 25 years on the town's volunteer fire department.

"I could see the black smoke barreling out and knew it was going to a battle," Tjeerdsma said of the blaze. "We got our trucks here right away and sent our team into advance through the main floor, and they said the smoke and fire was on the top floor."

Tjeerdsma is awaiting the fire marshal's ruling to determine the cause of the fire, but authorities know it began on the second floor of the two-story building. The business carried a wide variety of furniture ranging from couches, tables and chairs, along with home appliances.

"The surrounding communities firefighters really stepped up for us, and we all worked well together to contain the fire," Tjeerdsma said.

Fire crews had to act quickly in order to help save the neighboring building to the north of Powers Furniture and Appliance, which Tjeerdsma said is completely intact.


Adding more challenges to managing the blaze, Tjeerdsma said they had used up all of the water from Avon's water tower in containing the fire, prompting him to notify B-Y Water District, who hooked an emergency valve to get the water access back. Community members brought water from nearby ponds and a local cement plant.

"So we had no water until Yankton came with their aerial truck around 9 p.m., and the water supply was all going to that truck," he said. "Then all of the neighboring towns started bringing in water with them."

Tjeerdsma said the fire was contained around 2:30 a.m., ending a near six-hour battle. Firemen will continue to monitor the site of the fire for the coming days while the investigation takes place.

The Rev. Joe Forcelle is a priest at St. Leo's Catholic Church in Tyndall, who has been living in Bon Homme County for eight years, and he's felt the impact the Powers family business has had in the community.

"They are such great people, and they've had a tremendous impact here," Forcelle said of the Powers family. "I think you would be hard pressed to find a house within 50 miles that doesn't have at least one piece of furniture bought here."

Forcelle is no exception. His home in Tyndall is filled with furniture purchased from Powers Furniture and Appliance.

"I'm grateful to know the Powers family, and I know myself and the community will encourage them to stay positive through this all," Forcelle said.


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