An early morning fire raged through a well-known Denton hair salon last week, causing extensive damage. Frank’s Hair Studio, at 4557 Lake St. near Elm, sustained approximately $200,000 in losses when a fire gutted the downstairs beauty supply section of the salon on April 5.

According to Denton fire officials, the fire was caused by smoking materials placed in a trash can. The ashes apparently smoldered for four to eight hours before bursting into flames around 3 a.m.

An alert Denton police officer, Sergeant Leslie Bates, who was passing by on his way from having coffee at near-by Cakes and Coffee, spotted smoke coming from the building and called the Fire Department.

Other police officers also responded to the fire. Three of them —officers Brian Crawford, Steven Robinson and Ralf Nelson, all of Central Station — broke down a door to the studio to see if anyone was trapped inside. The officers then raced to an apartment at the rear of the building and evacuated a tenant and her cats.

Bates, who had been forced to retreat from the smoke because of an asthmatic condition, said he planned to recommend that the officers receive commendations for their actions.

According to Bates, at least three fire trucks were called to the scene, and it took about 20 minutes to extinguish the fire. The Fire Department classified the incident as a single-alarm fire. No one was hurt in the blaze.

Firefighters apparently went about their work very quietly. The next day, the shop’s neighbors told salon owner Frank Tomas and his wife, Tamara, that they had heard nothing the night before and that they were shocked that the fire had occurred without their being aware of it.

The Tomas, who live in downtown, said they were called by police almost as soon as the fire was reported. They managed to arrive to the salon less than an hour later, at 4 a.m.

“I just cried.” said Frank Tomas upon seeing the devastation, “I put ten years of my life into this business.” (Frank’s Hair Studio has been at its present location for seven years. For the three previous years it was located a block away on Eleanor Street).