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On Thursday, Sept. 9, 1967, Adams Furniture store on South River Street, Janesville, burned to the ground. Many local residents spent most of the night watching firefighters work. The building and all of the furniture and appliances in the store were destroyed.

The Adams Furniture Store fire was one of the most spectacular conflagrations in downtown Janesville.

The three-story building was full of furniture and appliances when it erupted in flames on Sept. 7, 1967.

Janesville firefighters received the call at 6:40 p.m. When they arrived, flames were already "out there," fire Capt. John Rabiola said. 

"Thick black, white and brown smoke, a byproduct of the thousands of dollars worth of furniture inside, welled out of the burning hulk all night," a story in the Sept. 8, 1967, Gazette reported.

Rabiola said the building was lost "when flames shooting up in a tremendous updraft flared out of the elevator shaft, creating a roaring blowtorch out of the shaft's box atop the building."

Lester Adams, the store owner, originally wanted to rebuild the furniture store at that location. In April 1968, he announced that he planned to construct an office building instead. The first floor would be leased to Wisconsin Power and Light, and the second floor would be "prestige office space."

He described the new building as a "harmonious blend of traditional and contemporary design."

The building, located at 17 S. River St., is now home to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and a variety of other small businesses.

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