60-year-old flower shop, greenhouse in Pierre total loss after fire destroys buildings

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PIERRE, South Dakota — A flower shop that has been a fixture of the state's capital city and run by one man's family for more than 60 years burned down Friday night.

A fire was reported at the Pierre Flower Shop and Greenhouse around 8 p.m. and firefighters from Pierre and Fort Pierre fought the blaze until early Saturday morning. No firefighters were injured but one police officer needed treatment for smoke inhalation.

Authorities said most of the shop's buildings, which cover much of a city block and include a storefront, four greenhouses and a shed, were destroyed in the fire.

Wally Thomsen has run the business since he returned from college more than 40 years ago and he told the Capital Journal the shop has been in his family since his parents bought it in 1951.

"It's hard to watch 40-plus years of work go up like that," said Thomsen as he watched the fire Friday night. "Actually it goes back a lot farther."

It's still unclear what started the fire. The state fire marshal is expected to look into the cause on Sunday.

It was the second fire city crews fought on Friday. They had worked to put out an apartment fire earlier in the day.

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