Schuette-Daniels Furniture store, Burlington landmark burns in 5-alarm blaze

BURLINGTON (WITI) -- Dozens of firefighters battled a massive fire at the popular Schuette-Daniels Furniture store in downtown Burlington late Saturday, April 5th. Officials there say downtown Burlington may never be the same.

"Words can't even explain the loss we had," Schuette-Daniels employee Anna Sime told FOX6 News on Sunday, April 6th.

"It's like, a landmark of Burlington. It's been here forever," Burlington resident Mark Bieneman said.

The fire broke out shortly before 10 p.m. An employee from Schuette-Daniels Funeral Home noticed the fire -- and called it in.

Burlington Mayor Bob Miller says at least 20 fire departments were involved in putting the fire out. Nobody was in the building at the time of the fire. No firefighters were hurt putting it out.

Officials say as many as 30 people living nearby were evacuated as a precaution -- as fire crews battled the blaze.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

"It's like a family business. They make you feel like family. It's really heartbreaking," Schuette-Daniels employee Angel Principato said.

Principato has worked in the store for two years. She rushed to the scene on Saturday night after friends told her the building was burning.

"This is just really sad for all of us," Principato said.

"I've known the building my whole life. I've known the owners and everything," Sime said.

Schuette-Daniels Furniture was founded in 1929. According to the store's website, John F. Schuette's goal was to provide the Burlington community with quality merchandise and service for which the store has since earned its reputation.

"I think there's always a possibility for them to remodel or rebuild," Burlington Fire Chief Perry Howard said.

"Schuette-Daniels downtown was a major stay of downtown Burlington. I can't say what the future is going to be for them, but it's definitely hurt downtown," Miller said.