(David Cooper/Stoddard County Ambulance District)
The initial call came into the Dexter Fire Department at 12:15 a.m., according to Capt. Dave Rowe.
When firefighters reached the scene on Stoddard Street, two businesses were engulfed in flames. The Loft, a business that opened its doors in June, and a building to its west that housed a recently opened tattoo parlor were destroyed.
Rowe declined to comment when asked if arson was suspected in the fire.
The Loft was housed at 8 E. Stoddard and is owned by Brian Crawford, who headed up an extensive renovation of the building in the spring of this year. The building has stood downtown since the early 1900s, housing a bank in its early days and several other businesses over the years. Crawford restored both stories of the building.
The fire is believed to have started in the building west of The Loft -- another two-story brick building. A tattoo parlor at that location had opened just weeks ago. That building is owned by Eric Bien, but the tattoo parlor's management was reportedly purchasing the building.
The fire threatened two other establishments -- an antique shop east of The Loft and Gregory's Creations on the west side of the tattoo parlor. Gregory's received smoke damage.