DECATUR — A building housing three businesses at 530 N. Water St. was leveled by a blaze that started at 1:40 a.m. Monday.
Decatur firefighters were on scene at 8:30 a.m. Monday morning preventing flare-ups after putting the fire out. The 500 block of North Water Street was blocked off to traffic.
River Coffee Company, Tried & True Tattoo and Speakeasy Records & Oddities were located at this address, Decatur Fire Department Capt. David Gagnon said.
No injuries were reported and no one was at the scene at the time of the fire, Gagnon said.
He said firefighters were unable to gain entry into the building, and the cause of the fire will more than likely remain undetermined.
Brian Abbott said he and Jesse Blunt are owners of the LLC called Speakeasy Properties and Aaron Moma is a tenant in the building. Abbott ran Speakeasy Records & Oddities, Blunt ran Tried & True Tattoo and Moma ran River Coffee Company.
Speakeasy Records was a hobby he enjoyed, Abbott said. He was never in it to make money.
Abbott said the loss of the building and business is not even his root of sadness now. It is the loss of a place full of activity for young people to come play music and hang out, he said.
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"We caught lightning in a bottle, and we bought this building," Abbott said, describing the location as perfect.
"I am not sure exactly what we're doing," Abbott said. "The big part now is finding another suitable location."
As a vinyl collector and friend of the business owners, Jerry Johnson, director of the Decatur Area Arts Council, said this was a sad loss for Decatur. Abbott is a member of the arts council board, Johnson said.
"I know him personally and he's a great guy," Johnson said. "We are connected to all of (the owners) in some way."
Johnson said Blunt is very active in the community working with Project Thinkwell, an organization that describes itself as facilitating a collaborative workspace for "learners, creatives and tinkerers that educate and inspire our community."
"They as a group have also been doing some great things to support the city and the arts scene," Johnson said. The location hosted a gallery exhibit Friday, he said.
Johnson said the group of owners have started to draw positive attention and activity to that neighborhood.
"On a personal level, it's just really sad that something like this would happen,"
The building previously housed Rupert's Sport Shop, which moved there in 1945. The business dated to 1896.
The city council voted on a conditional use permit for the new business in January 2017.
Contact Kennedy Nolen at (217) 421-6985.