The family who built the building on Chattanooga Road in 1986 still owns the property. The family run the Cagle's Lawn and Garden store next door and leased the building to Ace Hardware.

After the fire, the family realized how much of an impact their hardware store had on the community.

"If Claude could help you, if this hardware could help you in any way, he would do it," said customer Ken Dorsey.

Before the building became Ace Hardware in 2004, it was known as Claude Holcomb's Tunnel Hill Hardware.

"Of course it's a shock, wasn't expecting anything like that and I know we'll miss it," Holcomb said.

Old friends and former customers stopped at his lawn and garden shop next door, to check on the family and see the charred building for themselves.

Ken Dorsey remembers running errands at Tunnel Hill Hardware for his church years ago.

"When things would break we'd come into the store, lots of times the pastor would send us over here for stuff," Dorsey said, "and Claude would let us get whatever we needed, and send us out the door, not even pay for it."

Holcomb, now 85 years old, said he wasn't in it that business for the money, but to help his neighbors when they needed it.

"Most of the time all of them would come back and pay us," Holcomb said, "I've had people come back after 7 or 8 years, hadn't paid the bill and come back and pay me."

Even though Holcomb sold the business years ago, as the building's owner, he has to decide if another store will be built in its place.

"I doubt that I'll do anything, it costs too much," Holcomb said, "I don't have no plans to rebuild it."

Whitfield County Firefighters were back on scene Monday to get more information. They say the cause of the fire is still under investigation.


It's going to be a long night of clean up for the Ace Hardware in Tunnel Hill, Georgia, after an early morning fire burnt it from the inside out.

Fire crews spent hours on Saturday getting the flames under control, and said it would be late afternoon before all of the hotspots were out.

"This store has been here for a long time," said Buster Fox, Store Manager. "It's a community store, we just help everybody that we can."

But now, the community will go without, after an early morning fire on Saturday left the store in shambles.

"It's gonna be a hit for the tunnel hill community," said Edward O'Brien, Whitfield County Fire Chief.

Fox says he got the call around 7 a.m. and came straight to the store, thinking only one thing.

"Oh no. What can I do to save the store," said Fox.

However, it was too late. The building was fully engulfed.

"So I just sat and watched it burn," said Fox.

They hope to rebuild, but say they are leaning on the lord for direction.

"Just have to lean on the Lord. Let the lord lead you- I'd like to come back if we can, we just have to pray about it," said Fox.

No one was injured in the fire. The cause is still under investigation.

A family-owned Ace Hardware is in shambles after an early morning fire tore through the Tunnel Hill store.  The call came in around 7 a.m. Whitfield County Fire Department and Dalton Fire Department were both on scene to put out the flames, which took nearly 3 hours to get under control.

The store is considered a total loss, but the owners tell Channel 3 they do plan to re-build.

 No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.