Officials on Monday were investigating the cause of a fire in a Paris, Ill., furniture store where personnel from seven fire departments battled an inferno Friday that sent three firefighters to the hospital.

The firefighters were taken to the Paris Community Hospital, where they were treated and released Friday.

One firefighter suffered a laceration to his hand and two others suffered heat exhaustion during the fire at the Northern Harvest Furniture Inc. store in the 100 block of West End Avenue.

The fire broke out about 3:43 p.m.

“It’s still too early to rule anything out. In our process, we have to look at all possibilities,” said Paris Fire Chief Steve Wirth.

Two employees were in the store when the fire started, and they reported it, Wirth said.

The single-story, metal-frame building was a total loss, but it was insured, Wirth said.

Because of the size of the fire and high temperatures outside, 10 different stations helped extinguish the blaze.

“We needed additional personnel. People were overcome by the heat. We had fresh crews to keep things going. We also needed assistance in shuttling water to combat the fire,” Wirth said.

Crews were on-site for nearly 10 hours.

“It was a very hot fire due to the oak furniture that was inside, and it just took time to gain access to the fire itself,” Wirth said.

The building is a total loss. Five other buildings are in the complex, but crews were able to contain the fire to the furniture store, Wirth said. The other buildings were not damaged, he said.

Laura Followell can be reached at (812) 231-4253 or laura.followell@tribstar.com.

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