MIDDLESBORO, Ky. (WYMT) - A fire heavily damaged a Bell County restaurant and now its forty-seven employees are suddenly without work before Christmas.
A fire started early Thursday morning at the Little Caesars in Middlesboro. It was closed when the fire broke out so no one was injured.
The Little Caesars had just opened last month.
The Smith family spent one year building Little Caesars in Middlesboro, then a fire took it away in a day.
"It's devastating you know. We worked very hard in probably a little over a year putting it all together," said owner Johnny Smith.
Firefighters say around five o'clock Thursday morning, fire spread through the inside of the building.
"Lot of smoke and lot of heat. It'd been smoldering for awhile looked like in the back, kind of simmered in there and melted everything from front to back," said Captain Joe Asher, Middlesboro Fire Department.
"It hurts. Some of my family members already cried this morning," said Smith.
Smith says the restaurant's forty-seven employees are now suddenly without a job.
"It's just devastating you know, to be shut down around Christmas. A lot of our workers depend on the job," said Smith.
Firefighters believe the fire is accidental, but they have not determined what caused it yet.
"It's still under investigation but we do know it started in the back, the very back area, looked like a storage room or something," said Captain Asher.
The Smith family is already planning to rebuild and re-open as soon as possible.
"Hopefully come back real strong. We'd like to thank the people of Middlesboro. They gave us a lot of support," said Smith.
The family says they are thankful no one was hurt.
Firefighters say someone driving by saw the smoke and reported the fire. Firefighters believe the fire had been smoldering inside for awhile before it was reported.