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Historic Abilene restaurant destroyed by fire

ABILENE, Kan. (AP) -- Fire has destroyed an historic building that currently housed a popular restaurant in downtown Abilene.

The fire broke out Wednesday afternoon at the Kirby House. No injuries were reported but the restaurant was considered a total loss.

The restaurant had closed early in anticipation of a strong snowstorm and had been scheduled to be closed on Thursday.

The Abilene Reflector-Chronicle reports (http://bit.ly/Yd5uVK ) black smoke from the fire was so dense that at times motorists along Abilene's main street had zero visibility.

Banker Thomas Kirby built the house in 1885. It has operated as restaurant since the 1980s, and was owned by Rob and Melodie Sprouse for the last two years.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.