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Business owners, community react after large fire destroys 4 buildings in Exira

“We've been working really hard on it and now it's gone. It's sad," business owner Andrea Crane said.

Four buildings were destroyed by a large fire early Friday morning.

It happened in the small town of Exira, Iowa, at around 2:30 a.m.

No one was hurt, but several business owners now have to start over.

People in Exira say those four buildings have been around for more than 100 years.

But for some of the business owners, they say they were just starting to make their mark on the town.

"Just shocking,” said Andrea Crane.

She could hardly speak after losing her and her husband's business in a fire.

Crane said, “We've been working really hard on it and now it's gone. It's sad."

Not much is left of Gabby’s and Crabby's Place, a gift shop the Crane's opened just a year ago.

Crane said, "We had so many beautiful things in there, you know, from my shop. I had original paintings."

The fire also destroyed Jerry's Bar.

Mike Bednfeldt says he too opened it only a year ago.

Bednfeldt said, "It's horrible. I mean we just put a brand new roof on it this spring, brand new deck on it. It's devastating to the town.”

The town could've been affected even more if other firefighters hadn't helped out.

The fire chief says about 30 different departments came to help Exira.

"They're all volunteers. Some are older guys that are out here in this heat."

To help out the firefighters and other people in Exira, 20 different towns came together to bring food and drinks, including sandwiches fruit, granola bars, cookies and much more.

It's the support people like the Crane's need during a nightmare like this.

“Sad for the whole community. Sad for Exira,” Crane said.

Some of the business owners say it's too soon to tell if they'll rebuild.

The good news is that no matter what, they'll have the support of a lot of communities during this difficult time.

The Exira fire chief says he doesn't know what started the fire.

The fire marshal is looking into that.

The chief says crews will be watching the buildings Friday and Saturday to make sure everything is okay.

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