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SCOTTSBURG, Ind. (WDRB) -- An explosion destroyed a building and several businesses in downtown Scottsburg. It started it started just after 1 a.m. Thursday on the city square behind the county courthouse.
Scottsburg Fire & Rescue officials tell WDRB that the fire started in a dentist's office. Chief James Richey says they believe a tank of nitrous oxide or oxygen exploded.
About 100 firefighters responded to the blaze.
"When we arrived on scene, basically the whole front of the building looked like it had been blown off," Richey said. "Officers that were initially on scene advised there had been some kind of explosion."
An apartment and financial business were also damaged by flames. No one was in the building at the time of the explosion. Although the fire did breach part of the wall to the historic Scottsburg Movie Theatre, crews were able to stop it from spreading.
The emotional owner of the building next door to the dentist's office rushed to the scene early Thursday. Sandee Owens says she has owned the historic building for the past ten years and had renovated an apartment and banquet room
Owens says family members called to tell her about the fire around 1 a.m.
There were many family items stored in the building, including rocking chairs that belonged to her mother and grandmother.
"It has my grandmother's rocker, my mother's rocker up there," Owens said.
"That's where we have all our family gatherings, and we planned on having our Christmas up there Saturday night," Owens said. "It's all gone."
Fire officials say they had trouble putting out the fire on the roof because of layers of rubber and other materials used over the years.