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Dunn & McCarthy fire 2

An aerial view on Dec. 20, 1993, shows the smoldering remains of the Dunn & McCarthy complex and nearby buildings destroyed by the fire there the previous night.

Dec. 21, 1993

Business owners in the fire zone gathered along the Arterial and Washington Street Sunday night and watched their hard work, their records, their inventories burn.

Some 135 employees couldn't show up for work yesterday morning after a fire destroyed the abandoned Dunn & McCarthy shoe factory and two occupied buildings nearby. About 35 people won't be able to work at their Washington Street jobs for at least several months.

Several business owners darted into their buildings snatching up the records and personal items Sunday evening. Others watched with their neighbors and families as a storm of embers lit their roofs and flames swirled through their office windows.

"I was watching the cinders fall on the roof," said Mark Peters, owner of Coffee Host. "I started to go in and grab what I could — the computer backups and some personal items of my dad's. He died in March. Then I thought, 'This is all going to go down.' I just wrote it off."

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— Compiled by David Wilcox

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