"There was a lot of really black smoke. You couldn't even see down the road it was so smoky," says Diane Whitaker, an employee at the Taylor Jones Humane Society next-door.
She made the 911 call when a passerby informed her of what he'd seen.
"Nobody was at the shop fortunately so nobody could get harmed in the fire," says Matt Vivion, the owner of MVP Cabinets and Granite.
Vivion was on his lunch break when the fire in his building broke out.
Whitaker says, "We saw it coming out of all of the vents. Out of the garage door out of the electrical supply door going into the building."
Firefighters immediately responded thinking they were coming to a vacant building. They weren't.
"It was kind of a surprise to us. We weren't expecting to find that in this location. So that makes our firefighting efforts a lot more difficult to find out that it was an occupancy that wasn't permited for," says Lt. Greg Goettsch of the Abilene Fire Department.
The former VFW is now MVP Granite and Cabinets, a manufacturing company that doesn't have proper permits with the city.
Lt. Goettsch says, "You can't go in and occupy a building as one type of occupancy when it's designed for something else entirely."
He says specific changes have to be made and codes met to make sure the building is safe to conduct what it is now intended for. Not only is it a rule, but a safety concern. Had firefighters known what this building was, different tactics and strategies would have been used.
"There was a great deal of smoke produced by this fire and it's not good for you. No type of fire is good for you even if it's just wood burning but chemicals add a great deal more to the equation," says Lt. Goettsch.
Though it is a great loss, the turnout could have been much worse.
"My biggest concern right now is for my employees. I've got several full time employees and immediately, it's going to put them without work, and that's going to be my biggest concern," says Vivion.