MOREHEAD, Ky. (WKYT) - A fire destroyed two businesses and damaged a third in Rowan County early Tuesday morning.
The fire, which could be seen a mile away, started before 2 a.m. in the H2O Wireless and Tobacco Store on West Main Street in downtown Morehead.
A tanning business attached to the store was also destroyed by the flames. The third store, which sells heating and air systems, did not catch fire but did sustain water damage.
The owner of the tanning salon was leasing out the smoke shop. He estimates the damage to the two destroyed businesses could run up to $1 million.
He told WKYT through tears that he hurts for his employees who lost their jobs.
"It's a pretty big deal, pretty big loss," said Morehead State University student Tesla Henderson.
She is 1 of 10 employees at Electric Beach Tanning who are now out of a job.
Henderson said, “I'm sure it's a devastating loss for everyone, not just because it was tanning but because it was a community service. We had 22,000 to 23,000 clients. Our last day we had 370 clients come in. I've had people texting me all day like what are we going to do?"
The Morehead State University student is now asking herself that same question.
"There's rent and car payment, insurance, phone bill, the works; knowing next week I don't have a paycheck coming in is scary honestly,” Henderson described.
The owner of the tanning salon hopes to rebuild the business within six months to a year.
The fire chief says it could take days or even weeks to figure out how the fire started.