Fire destroys 76-year-old Syracuse business, leaving family and community picking up the pieces


SYRACUSE, Kan. (KSNW) – A three-generation Syracuse car dealership went up in flames Sunday. The loss is being felt across the town. 

Mark and Donna Davis received a call on Sunday saying their family-owned business was on fire. Rushing to the scene, they watched seven decades of their family’s livelihood burn to the ground.

“When she got here, she said it’s gone. It’s just, there was so much fire,” said Mark Davis, owner of Davis Motors.

The dealership was more than just a building, inside, it held antique toy cars, a Model T, rebuilt motorcycles, customer vehicles, and cherished memories. Now, it’s all destroyed.

“So the sad part is just the, you know, a 76-year-old family business is gone,” said Davis.

This week, the Davis’ spent time at what once was their car dealership, taking in their new reality.

A reality that is full of uncertainties.

“The expectations of what you have to build, even for a small town, at this point and time, it looks like it might be out of our reach,” said Davis.

But the damage goes far beyond the business. It was a community-wide loss and has had a ripple effect on the town.

Community members are now grieving the loss and showing their support for the Davis family as the dealership was a lifeblood of the town.

The Davis’ are involved in the community as boosters, board members, and volunteers.

Krista Norton, and lifetime resident of Syracuse, knew all three generations of the Davis family and is now mourning their loss.

She says seeing years of hard work diminished into rubble, is heartbreaking.

“We were just in a state of shock. It just felt like there was such a quietness that came over our community that morning because we just all really felt it,” said Norton. “We’re definitely keeping Mark and Donna and all their family in our thoughts.”

But through it all, the Davis couple is staying positive saying they can’t dwell on the past.

“I can’t fix this, but I’ve got to go forward,” said Davis.

The loss of the business is expected to have a financial impact on the community, as the dealership was one of the top sales tax generators in Hamilton County. 

For now, the dealership is temporarily operating out of another office and have not made any decision on whether or not they will rebuild the business.


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