Crews responded to the fire at the Clayton Dental Center on Highway 42 south of Clayton just after 1 a.m. Wednesday. Officials said the fire started in a dryer vent in the rear of the building and spread quickly.
"I just keep thinking a little piece of lint caused all this damage. It does seem bizarre, but they say that's probably what happened," said co-owner Dr. Jeff Calamos.
More than 40 firefighters worked to battle the blaze. Witnesses said flames shot as high as the power lines.
Clayton's fire chief Lee Barbee said the structure is a total loss.
Marsh said more than 2,000 patient records are backed up on on its computer system. A Raleigh office's files are also tied into the Clayton office's system. Damage is estimated at $1 million.
This marks the latest in a series of fires at Johnston County businesses. On Sunday, crews battled fires at the Tacos to Go restaurant on Highway 70 and Absolute Wireless.
Tuesday, there was a dryer fire at a local Laundromat. Arson was ruled out in that case.
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