UPDATE: Dalton business destroyed by fire - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Dalton business destroyed by fire

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Caution tape marks a window at the Dalton restuarant fire Wednesday morning. Photo by Sara Sidery/WRCBtv.com Caution tape marks a window at the Dalton restuarant fire Wednesday morning. Photo by Sara Sidery/WRCBtv.com
DALTON, GA (WRCB) -

Celia McCollum and her sister had been wanting to open up their own family restaurant for years now, and everything finally came together last week. A fire destroyed it on Wednesday, just two weeks before it was set to open.

The fire broke out shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday in the 600 block of S. Hamilton St.

"We signed the lease on Sunday, and we had the power turned on this morning," McCollum said outside her restaurant, still blocked off by fire tape on Wednesday afternoon.

Bay's Kitchen was just about ready for business. The dishes were still stacked. The tables and chairs are now charred.

"About 30 minutes after I left from having the power cut on was when it caught fire," said McCollum.

The sisters were putting the finishing touches on the former Memphis Grill building and finalizing the menu for opening day.

"Catfish, chicken, all the vegetables and hush puppies," listed McCollum.

The concept was a sit-down, all-you-can-eat comfort-style food restaurant. Their slogan was to be "Bay's Kitchen With All The Fixin's." The sisters named the eatery after their dad, who passed away 15 years ago.

"Bay was my dad's nickname when he was little, so it was just kind of representing him," said McCollum.

"We don't know what happened yet with the fire, but there is heavy damage," said Bruce Frazier of Dalton Police Dept.

Frazier said police closed Hamilton St. for about an hour. The building was fully in flames when firefighters arrived. It was put out in less than 30 minutes.

"Early indications, it was something accidental," he said.

"Apparently one of the heating tables that was inside was left on, and we didn't know it," said McCollum. But the kitchen doors won't close for good.

"We're still gonna open, it will just be delayed," she said. "It's just a minor setback."

The building was vacant at the time, and no one was hurt.  The Dalton Fire Dept. is still investigating the cause of the fire. No word yet on an estimated dollar loss.


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A Wednesday morning fire destroyed a soon-to-be opened Dalton restaurant Wednesday morning.

Firefighters and law enforcement officials responded to the fire on Hamilton Street.


Formerly known as the Memphis Grill, the new restaurant was to be called Bay's Kitchen.

Two Dalton sisters who hoped to open the restaurant soon had named it for their late father.

Hamilton Street, between Emery and Franklin Streets, was closed as firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze.

Bruce Frazier, the Public Relations Specialist for the Dalton Police Department says there were no injuries from the fire.

Channel 3 Eyewitness News reporter Sara Sidery will have more on this story tonight on Eyewitness News at 6.

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