Florist Rask burns in the early morning downtown

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STAUNTON – A fire engulfed a building in downtown Staunton on Thursday morning.

No injuries were reported.

Flames were seen shooting out of the building that houses Rask Florist at 5 E. Frederick St. shortly before 7 a.m.

Staunton Fire Department Deputy Chief Perry Weller said the building’s second floor, used as a storage area, was badly damaged. “It’s quite extensive,” he said.

Rask Florist also suffered heavy smoke and water damage.

Perry said the cause and origin of the fire are under investigation.

Damage was reported next to the Staunton Academy of Ballet.

Many agencies intervened on the scene. It took about 30 minutes to bring the fire under control, Perry said.

Smoke was still pouring from the roof of Rask Florist just after 8 a.m. Firefighters were seen working on the roof of the building at the corner of Frederick and North Augusta streets.

Rask Florist co-owner Luanne Goodloe stood outside the building, bundled up in a cream puffer jacket and holding her phone in one hand.

“It’s this building here that got the majority!” she says pointing to the showroom which has a second floor called Rask Formal, where they sell formal dresses at a discount, a business they started a few years ago.

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She said the building next door, which houses their flowers and design materials, is probably OK. If so, they can still provide flowers for Valentine’s Day.

“We’ll do Valentine’s Day,” she said flatly.

The floor had blown out windows and window openings covered in black and inside.

The Staunton Academy of Ballet is next door. Shanda McCray Hansen works there and said she woke up this morning to the news of the fire. Sh said there was smoke damage in his apartment building.

“My upstairs studio is dark and full of water,” she said. “Many, many costumes destroyed.”

Hansen said classes are canceled today.

Firefighters from the Staunton, Augusta County Fire-Rescue, Swoope, Verona and Fishersville Fire Department responded to the sc

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