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Posted on Fri, Dec 25, 2009 : 4 p.m.

Downtown Dexter businesses damaged in Christmas Day fire

By Amalie Nash


Firefighters from several departments responded to downtown Dexter for a fire that damaged multiple businesses Friday.

Photo by Elise Troczynski

Update Dec. 26: Dexter business owners assess damage after Christmas Day fire

A downtown fire damaged four Dexter businesses on Christmas Day and sent one resident of an upstairs apartment to the hospital with smoke inhalation, authorities say.

But officials say the fire, which broke out at 12:30 p.m. in the 8100 block of Main Street, could have been much worse.

"There was the potential that it could have been a lot worse since many of those buildings are almost 200 years old," Dexter Firefighter Michael Grissom said. "We were nervous since several of the businesses have apartments above them, so we called for mutual aid quickly."

Firefighters were sent to the businesses after a smoke alarm activated, and a tenant who lives above one of the businesses pointed out haze in his apartment, Grissom said. Firefighters forced entry into several of the businesses, which included the Dexter Pub, the Lighthouse Cafe, a sewing/embroidery shop, a barber and consulting business.

The fire was traced to an office in Fancy Stitch Apparel. Grissom said the cause of the fire is not known, but the state fire marshal's office is investigating.

Much of the inventory of at least two of the businesses may be damaged, and one of the restaurants also had smoke damage, officials said. It's unclear how long they will be closed.

The renter who pointed out the haze in his apartment was taken to an area hospital for smoke inhalation, Grissom said.

A damage estimate was not available, but Grissom said damage is likely to be significant.

Dexter was assisted by firefighters from Scio Township, Chelsea and Putnam Township. Northfield Township also handled calls for medical assistance and a fire alarm in the Dexter fire district during that time.


Wystan Stevens

Sat, Dec 26, 2009 : 4:43 p.m.

Dexter Firefighter Grissom says that the buildings are "almost 200 years old." But according to Samuel W. Beakes' 1906 History of Washtenaw County, the predecessors of the buildings in that block were destroyed by fire in April, 1877. Thus none of the replacement buildings now standing can be older than 132 years. In point of fact, no building in Washtenaw County was here 200 years ago. The county's first settlement, Woodruff's Grove (now buried under Ford Lake), was made in 1823. Ann Arbor and Dexter Village were founded in 1824. The Anson Brown block, the oldest surviving structure in Ann Arbor, was erected in 1832.


Sat, Dec 26, 2009 : 11 a.m.

areader, thanks for the good news! Hopefully the down time will be minimal.


Sat, Dec 26, 2009 : 10:25 a.m.

I have been told the Lighthouse Restaurant is open this morning. Do not know the status of the other businesses at this time


Sat, Dec 26, 2009 : 10:12 a.m.

"This is news reporting? Where are the details?" It was x-mas day after all, maybe info might be a little hard to come by when everybody has the day off? What details are you looking for, the actual temp of the fire, the exact square footage damaged, how many firefighters were having a Hoogarden after? My thoughts go out to the owners of the businesses and the renters. Glad that everyone appears to be ok. A real shame that the restaurants and bar will be closed during what is usually a huge business week for such places. Let us be thankful for our socialist fire dept! Imagine if it were up to the owners to put out their own fire. hehe.


Fri, Dec 25, 2009 : 10:39 p.m.

I love the pub and the Lighthouse Cafe. Both have become very popular "fixtures" in Dexter. Thanks to all of the Fire Fighters and the QUICK Action to contain the blaze. A fire a few years back (Dexter Daze) was real mess and the fire fighter was correct in recognizing the potential for a much worse scenario and taking appropriate action.

Pam Wilson

Fri, Dec 25, 2009 : 9:56 p.m.

This is news reporting? Where are the details?


Fri, Dec 25, 2009 : 6:30 p.m.

From the description, the two restaurants would be the Lighthouse Cafe and the Dexter Pub. The barber shop is in between. The fire station is literally right across the street.


Fri, Dec 25, 2009 : 5:39 p.m.

The names of the businesses are missing from this article. To me that's a useful detail.