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Franklin Center in Kansas City, Kansas, damaged Wednesday afternoon in fire

Franklin Center Fire
Posted at 12:53 PM, May 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-24 13:53:28-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Franklin Center, a building with roots dating back to 1893, was damaged in a fire Wednesday morning in Kansas City, Kansas.

At around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, the Kansas City, Kansas, Fire Department responded to the blaze at 1404 Ruby Ave.

Crews witnessed heavy flames in the attic and upper stairwell of the vacant two-story building.

Firefighters used a defensive strategy due to a partial roof collapse and worked on extinguishing the flames from outside the building. The fire was under control by noon.

KCKFD says the extent of damage to the building is not known at this time.

No injures were reported by the fire department.

The Franklin Center building previously operated as Franklin Elementary School in the Kansas City, Kansas, School District. The school was closed in 1973 "due to neighborhood decline and urban renewal restructuring," according to the center's website. It later operated as a community center from 1979 until 2009.

Efforts to re-develop the center have been underway since 2011, launching a $2.5 million renovation campaign in 2014.

"The Franklin Center’s Board of Directors is working hard to secure all necessary funds for the redevelopment of the building," the center's website says.