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Neighbors Assess Losses In Wake Of Devastating Furniture Store Fire

ONTARIO ( — Will Khalaf watched in horror as a fire tore through his neighbor's building Sunday night, with some flames so big they towered into the night sky.

Khalaf's car stereo shop was right next door.

"It was huge, higher than that pole right there, explosions because there were a couple of cars back there that exploded," said Khalaf. "It was just so much smoke you couldn't actually see inside."

In his 26 years in business , Khalaf says he's never seen anything like it. The fire burned through his warehouse and even damaged a car he was working on.

Just next door at a dentist's office, Ned Paniagua also spent the evening staring at the fire in disbelief.

"It's really scary, especially when you're the neighbor," the dentist said. "You're thinking, 'There goes us, too', and this is our livelihood."

Ontario fire officials say the fire started in a lumber yard and quickly spread, burning through everything in its path.

Firefighters tried to stop the flames before they reached Alex Furniture, but the fire was too strong and caused the roof to collapse, barely missing dozens of firefighters.

No one was injured, but the building and everything inside is gone.

"Coming to work or getting a call and coming down and seeing your whole business destroyed, it's just devastating," said Mike Guardalabene, who owns a store in the area, Rex Marine.

Crews are working to restore power to the entire block. Fire officials say the businesses surrounding Alex Furniture will likely be closed for a couple of days.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but fire officials say they don't think it was set intentionally.

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