UPDATE: The building on Market Street has been a Dairy Queen since the early 1990's, the current owner says he's owned the business for the last six years. He says he now has 11 employees with no job, three days before Christmas.

"Oh my god, what happened, I couldn't believe it, that it did happen."

Kevin Ashcraft has driven to the Dairy Queen in Dalton hundreds of times before, to do maintenance work in the building.

Tuesday morning, he said there were tears in his eyes as he saw what was left of it.

"Yea, it is emotional, it takes a special person to get through this," Ashcraft said.

The Dairy Queen caught fire around 6:30 Monday night. Everyone who was inside got out safely.
Soon after, the building's roof collapsed with firefighters inside.

"We weren't going to risk life just to save a building, so we pulled them out just as soon as it started to collapse," said Capt. Alan Ridley, Dalton Fire Department.

Busy Market Street reopened hours later. It's been filled with people stopping their cars to see the damage for themselves.

The business owner lives 100 miles away in Gwinnett County. Bob McCray says many of his 11 employees are teenagers who work part-time.

McCray says his focus is dealing with his insurance, so he can work out a plan to get his business back up and running. The Dairy Queen is the only franchise business he owns, and he plans to re-open if possible.

The fire department says it will be up to the business owner's insurance company to hire an independent inspector to determine what caused the fire.


UPDATE: Firefighters in Dalton are investigating a fire at Dairy Queen that took place Monday night.

It happened on Market Street off West Walnut Avenue near the Outback Steakhouse.

Officials say a lack of water and the roof caving in made it difficult for firefighters to gain control of the blaze.

West Walnut Avenue from Dug Gap Road to I-75 was closed during the fire to allow firefighters to run hoses across the road.

Fire crews were eventually able to put out the flames and are now trying to figure out what caused the blaze.

Stay with Channel 3 for updates.