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Fire investigation continues

Friday, November 30, 2012

Purchase this photo at dailystatesman.com NOREEN HYSLOP photos-nhyslop@dailystatesman.com Dexter firefighters work putting out hot spots in the rear of the downtown buildings destroyed by fire Friday morning. Firefighters spent nearly 16 hours at the scene. Below is Brian Crawford, owner of The Loft, one of the buildings destroyed, as he works to salvage some items from his shop that were retrieved by firefighters.

Managing Editor

State Fire Marshal Butch Amon from Jackson remained in Dexter late Friday, working with clues from the early morning fire that destroyed two businesses. Amon was called to the scene early Friday morning when firefighters suspected the blaze might have been the work of an arsonist.

Det. Lt. Trevor Pulley was placed on the case at 7 a.m. Friday, further indicating a strong suspicion of arson. The fire began around midnight Thursday and raged into the morning hours on Friday. Firefighters from Bloomfield, Essex, and Butler County provided mutual aid. About 50 firefighters were involved in battling the inferno that left two downtown business in ashes.

The enormous impact on the downtown area and to the shop owners came into full view as the sun came up Friday.

Only a shell was left of Eric Bien's building that housed the tattoo parlor on E. Stoddard Street, Drop of Ink 2. Early reports said Bien had insurance on the building but that the contents were not covered. Only ashes remained of what had been inside.

Throughout the day into the late afternoon, residents gathered downtown to view the scope of the damage. Many of them helped in securing what few items were salvageable from The Loft, a shop owned by Brian Crawford and James Hampton that offered artwork, antiques, glassware, furniture and countless decor items. Crawford had scheduled to kick off the Christmas season at his shop with an Open House on Dec. 9.

Crawford began work last spring to restore the century-old building at 8 E. Stoddard Street. He completed much of the restoration project himself.

Fixtures and furnishings were brought in from across the globe and put on display before the shop's opening in June.

All of the work is lost, with the exception of some art pieces and glassware that firemen carefully carried out. Also removed were a few replica tables and some soot-covered stained glass.

All of the items retrieved from The Loft were placed on the sidewalk area across from the burned structure and a firefighter eventually taped off the area until Crawford and Hampton could box up the items and remove them from the scene.

A news release was expected from Fire Chief Don Seymore late Friday afternoon, but none was received. Seymore confirmed close to 6 p.m. that additional time would be needed and that the release would be forthcoming over the weekend.

The Daily Statesman will post any breaking news regarding the fire investigation as it is received. Check www.dailystatesman.com.

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Thankful no lives were lost. Sure hope it was not some idiot who started the fire. 50 firemen risked life and limb, people who have invested time, money and work into their stores and the community, and the loss of income to other stores who lost buisness while the street needed to be closed. Thank you firemen and any who worked to help in this disaster. Thanks again Lord, that no one was killed in the fire.

-- Posted by doris on Sun, Dec 2, 2012, at 10:38 PM

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