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Cause of Four-Station Blaze Unclear

Kansas station owner says he’ll rebuild

An investigation continues into what caused a fire that gutted a building on Main Street in Hutchinson, Kan., that took four radio stations off the air this weekend.

Initially fire investigators thought the fire may have been caused by arson; now they believe an equipment rack at the back of KSKU(FM) may be to blame, reports KWCH(TV).

The building housed four FMs owned by Ad Astra Broadcasting: KXKU, KSKU, KNZS and KWHK. The stations had been on the air for 25 years.

KSN(TV) reported that firefighters realized they couldn’t save the building, so they focused on making sure it didn’t spread. Owner Cliff Shank told KWCH that the fire, which gutted a quarter of a million dollars in radio equipment, was devastating. “When they brought up the back hoe and parked it, I started crying.”

Shank intends to rebuild and set up temporary studios in the meantime. Several radio stations have offered to lend Shank equipment to get back on the air, KWCH reported.