Peacock Alley fire damage could cost millions - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Peacock Alley fire damage could cost millions

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DALTON, WHITFIELD COUNTY, GA (WRCB)- Fire investigators began their work Friday at an historic shopping mall in Dalton. Fire destroyed eight stores at Peacock Alley nearly two weeks ago.

Now that the investigation is underway, fire officials say they hope to work quickly to determine a cause. Many in the community say it is important to try and salvage what they can of the historical building.

Crews clawed their way into what remains of Peacock Alley, snapping pictures and taking notes as investigators try to determine a cause.

"It's sad to see. We hate to lose any structure from a firefighting standpoint. But particularly one that has historic value to the community," says Deputy Fire Chief Gary Baggett.

Baggett says investigators are trying to accomplish a few things including preserving what they can of the building. It is known to many as the old Fraker Hardware Store.

They also want to determine a cause quickly.

"It may take us into tomorrow, but we're confident by the end of the weekend, we'll have it for sure," says Baggett.

"I think you've got to preserve history in downtown areas, you know? If you don't, what are you going to show your grandchildren, you know?" says Pam Patterson.

Patterson owned a salon in Peacock Alley. She just happened to relocate her business across the street a month before the fire.

"I guess the good Lord was looking after us because we got out of there just in time but it's just heartbreaking for the other people over there," says Patterson.

While she comforts her friends and fellow business owners, she hopes the building can be restored to its original beauty.

"If they could just revamp the whole place and just upgrade it a little bit. It'd be wonderful to have that back. I think they could get some more businesses in there and really have a fresh start," says Patterson.

"Talking with the building owner throughout this process, I have every indication from them they want to remain somewhere supporting the downtown area," says Baggett.

We also talked with the wife of the building owner. She did not want to go on camera but says they have no definite plans on if they will rebuild in the same spot.

As of right now, Deputy Chief Baggett estimates the cost of damage to Peacock Alley to be in the low millions, maybe even as high as $5 million.

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