By: Doug Delony
FOX 26 Web Reporter
The Agora coffeehouse in Montrose 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 Antique Warehaus, 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.
There did not appear to be any serious injuries directly related to the fire; however, CultureMap reports a man riding a bicycle dressed as Charlie Brown clipped his wheel on a fire hose and fell. Medics attended to him, but he did not appear to be seriously hurt.
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. UPDATE: A spokesman for HFD says they expect to determine a cause for the fire by Monday or Tuesday of this week.
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 imported 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 look at the damage. They say they had been in business for nine years.