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story.lead_photo.caption Firefighters respond to a blaze in west Little Rock on Sunday, May 20, 2018. - Photo by Jennifer Christman

Authorities are investigating the cause of a fire that destroyed a commercial building in west Little Rock on Sunday.

No one was injured Sunday evening in the fire at 3 Office Park Drive, a one-story building west of South Shackleford Road and north of Kanis Road, according to Fire Department spokesman Capt. Jacob Lear-Sadowsky.

The commercial building housed three businesses: the Arkansas Pregnancy Resource Center, a Dale Carnegie research center and a pulmonary medical laboratory, he said.

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 6:42 p.m. Sunday after receiving several reports of heavy smoke in the air. Firefighters arrived and found flames rising from the roof, he said.

He described the building as a total loss.

A thick cloud of black smoke was visible from miles away, and firefighters set up outside the structure, dousing the building with water from ladder trucks. The spokesman estimated about 30 to 35 firefighters worked the scene.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but authorities were interviewing witnesses, Lear-Sadowsky said Sunday evening. He said it was too soon to say whether the fire would be considered suspicious.

The fire spread through the entire structure, Lear-Sadowsky said. No other buildings were damaged by the flames.

Speaking at the scene, Lee Wilbur, vice president of the Arkansas Pregnancy Resource Center's board of directors, described the nonprofit as a "faith-based ministry" that provides pregnancy options.

The organization, he said, gives information on parenting, adoption and abortion. The organization's website says the nonprofit does not perform abortions or refer for abortion services.

The fire, he said, left him with unanswered questions and sadness. But he said the location was only a building and that the organization will continue on.

"We will only be stronger," he said.

A smattering of people lingered in a parking lot near the burned building Sunday evening, many pulling out their cellphones to capture the unfolding scene.

One man at the scene said he was traveling by when he saw the smoke billowing out of the structure.

Photo by Thomas Metthe
A Little Rock firefighter sprays hot spots from a ladder truck during a fi re at 3 Office Park Dr. in west Little Rock on Sunday evening. No one was injured in the blaze but the building was destroyed, officials said.

Metro on 05/21/2018

Print Headline: Business building engulfed by flames; Little Rock investigators probe fire’s cause

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