A large store on the historical Denton Square was gutted by a four-alarm fire early Tuesday morning, and fire officials still don’t know what caused the blaze.
The fire was reported about 4 a.m., with the initial call coming from the Downtown Mini Mall on Locust Street, across from the Denton Courthouse-On-The-Square.
The cause had yet to be determined.
Part of the Mini Mall had a roof collapse. The mall, known for its vintage collectibles, also had water damage, as initially reported by WFAA.
In addition to the total loss of Downtown Mini Mall, at least two adjacent businesses, La Di Da clothing store and Jupiter House coffee shop, sustained water and smoke damage and remained closed Tuesday, a city spokeswoman said.
Hours after the fire, Denton residents rallied online to express their support for rebuilding the damaged portion of Denton Square, which is a popular gathering spot and widely considered a cultural hub of the city center. It draws visitors not only from nearby Texas Woman’s University and the University of North Texas, but the entire Dallas-Fort Worth region.
A GoFundMe page was started to raise funds to repair and rebuild the damaged structures.
“Let's show the world how Dentonites can band together to help our neighboors in this time of tragedy,” a description of the fundraising effort, started by the Denton Young Professionals, read. “This money will be used to provide assistance for any and all of the businesses affected by the fire.”
Contributions are to be directed to the Denton Main Street Association, a nonprofit organization that promotes live music, restaurants and shopping in the downtown area. As of 4:30 p.m., $730 had been raised.
One of the residents who contributed to the effort, Lauri Sulewski, wrote: “So very sad. Former Spokes Dog of Denton Cody and I are very sad to hear this news. I hope everyone is okay and that it can be rebuilt.”
Residents took to social media to express sadness over the loss of such a well-known piece of the Square.
“Looks like something out of a disaster movie,” Dj Tony Snow wrote on his Twitter feed. “The antique mini mall is completely gone. Jupiter house coffee and La Di Da are messed up badly too.”
Meagan Reynolds added: “I hope that you can rebuild and know that our community would be there to assist in any way we could.”
Firefighters were still working to secure the building Tuesday evening and were only in the early stages of searching for a cause of the fire, Denton city spokeswoman Jessica Rogers said.
“Unfortunately, at this time they haven’t been able to get in and investigate,” Rogers said.
On the east end of Denton Square, Locust and Austin streets were closed to traffic and likely would remain so for the next day or two, Rogers said.