Owner Charles Davis watched through his window and asked a favor of a friend. "God help us," he pleaded. "God help us."
By then the window in front of him at the Ferguson Burger Bar had already become a symbol of faith and resolve.
Charles and Kizzie Davis had opened their business one day before Michael Brown was shot.
Local and national media reported on their prayerful decision to take a different tact than their neighbors, and not board up.
When the smoke cleared Tuesday morning, the Burger Bar and its windows were still intact while two neighboring businesses across the street had been burned to the ground.
Charles pondered the destruction.
"This is not going to resolve anything," he said. "It takes the focus off what the real issue is. It takes the focus off that a young man lost his life."
Police blocked West Florissant Avenue Tuesday, shutting off access to the Burger Bar, but Charles plans to reopen as soon as the road is clear.
No board and no curtains, windows wide open. "To show people there's nothing really to fear," says Charles. "There's nothing to fear."
Many customers offered words of comfort and support on the Burger Bar's Facebook page.
"Hope you're safe & were spared…you were my last prayer last night…" wrote one woman.