Kansas Ave. Loft repairs nearly complete after massive fire next door

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Six weeks ago Mike Wilson and his wife Maria, property managers of the 101 Kansas Avenue Lofts, watched as the building next to theirs burned to the ground.

"Then we watched our building catch fire," Mike said.

"The roof, our roof caught fire, and we were afraid the fourth floor was gonna catch fire as well and just, feeling helpless."

Heavy smoke and water damage meant everyone had to go.

"All the tenants did have to move out. They estimated approximately 400,000 gallons were put into the building," he said.

"Our damages are going to exceed $1.5 million."

Once the smoke cleared and the building was deemed safe - work started on the damaged units.

The smoke - once at toxic levels - is now completely filtered out with special machines.

"We're not quite back where we need to be, but we're getting close," Mike said.

The building's northern wall was structurally compromised - and the drywall that once covered it was soaked and needed to be removed.

The roof is held up by jacks until repairs are complete, but thanks to cleanup crews - most people have been able to come back home.

"Most of them, over 80 percent have elected to stay, and we're thrilled about that," Mike said.

Mike says the building will be back to its former glory soon.

The few units still under repair should be ready by fall.

Progress is so good, 101 Kansas Avenue lofts is ready to show off available spots again.

They're having an open house from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. this Saturday.