Fire Damages Tahlequah Shopping Center
TAHLEQUAH, Oklahoma - Several business owners are cleaning up after a large fire at a Tahlequah strip mall.
Firefighters put up caution tape around most of the Midtown Crossing Shopping Center with the greatest amount of damage in the back of the building.
The fire marshal is investigating the cause, but firefighters believe the fire started in a dumpster and spread to the rest of the building. Benjamin Detert owns Benny's Fine Electric Tattoo and he says his shop suffered a lot of damage.
"I poked my head in the shop. Standing water, there's smoke in there. You know, it smells like a burnt marshmallow," said Detert.
The fire comes at a really bad time for the Rhythm Innovations Dance Company whose dancers have a recital this weekend. Debbie Amlin volunteers there and says she found out about the fire when the owner sent her a text message this morning.
“Yes, it is [heartbreaking] because it's such a nice studio. We were so blessed that Kenzie and Jason wanted to keep the tradition going in town," said Amlin.
Firefighters say a few other businesses have smoke damage. Detert says it could be a while before he can reopen his tattoo parlor.
"Hopefully, I can get the smell out of the couches, the massage tables, the chairs and everything like that but we'll see," he said.
Firefighters say there was no one inside when they arrived here on scene.