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A Decatur firefighter tightens the straps on his face mask as he prepares to enter the burning Chick-fil-A on Wednesday.
Daily photos by Gary Cosby Jr.
A Decatur firefighter tightens the straps on his face mask as he prepares to enter the burning Chick-fil-A on Wednesday.

Fire at Chick-fil-A on Beltline
Waffle-fry fryer cause of blaze; nobody injured

By Paul Huggins
phuggins@decaturdaily.com · 340-2395

Following the “Eat Mor Chikin” slogan will mean patronizing Zaxby’s, Roosters, Church’s and other poultry places for awhile.

A fire Wednesday afternoon shut down the Chick-fil-A restaurant on Beltline Road Southwest.

A waffle-fry fryer overheated and caught on fire, said owner Barry Keith.

All 14 to 15 employees and all the customers escaped from the flames without harm, which is the most important issue, he said.

“The building can burn to the ground, but I don’t want anybody hurt,” Keith said.

Even while the smoke continued to pour from the building, Keith was receiving encouraging calls from former employees and customers.

“It’s a good feeling to know everybody cares,” he said.

Other location closed

The restaurant has been a popular dining destination since it opened in 1998.
The restaurant has been a popular dining destination since it opened in 1998.
Keith closed the Chick-fil-A inside Colonial Mall two months ago, so the fire leaves Decatur residents without a Chick-fil-A location.

It’s a sad day for the community, he said, because the restaurant has been a popular dining destination since it opened in 1998.

“But we’ll be back,” Keith said, adding that he couldn’t speculate on a time frame until he thoroughly inspects the building.

The fire started at about 3 p.m. Four fire stations sent six trucks, including two ladder trucks, to the scene.

The fire was put out in about 15 minutes, said Battalion Chief Kenneth Johnston.

“Smoke was so heavy it was hard to find the fire,” he said.

Firefighters entered through the rear door and first extinguished the kitchen area, where the fire started, and then put out a second set of flames in the drive-through area, Johnston said, noting that extreme heat caused the second flare-up.

The fire did not appear to enter the attic area, he said, but he hadn’t finished his inspection.

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