Fire destroys Toco Hills restaurant - CBS46 News

Fire destroys Toco Hills restaurant

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View from the backside of LongHorn Steakhouse on Druid Hills Road View from the backside of LongHorn Steakhouse on Druid Hills Road
View of the LongHorn Steakhouse from North Druid Hills Road View of the LongHorn Steakhouse from North Druid Hills Road
DEKALB COUNTY, GA (CBS46) -

Fire destroyed a LongHorn Steakhouse restaurant early Wednesday morning in the Toco Hills community of DeKalb County. 

People in the area called 911 at about 2:05 a.m. According to Battalion Chief Shane Dobson told CBS46 News that the restaurant was about "50 percent involved" when the first crew arrived. Minutes later, there was an explosion.

"Crews on the scene advised that we actually had the roof lifted off slightly," said Dobson. "All the windows all the way around came out. Fortunately, we didn't have any firefighters injured during that."

It appeared to be a natural gas explosion, he said.

Witnesses told CBS46 News that they heard the "boom."

"The next thing I know it just explodes, flames go up and I kind of freaked out," said Jessica Purdy. 

Sabrina Evers works at a nearby bagel shop. 

"When I opened up the door, I saw black smoke everywhere. I couldn't see," she said. "My eyes were burning, so I came around the other way to see what was going on, and I saw LongHorn in a flames."

Darden, the company that owns LongHorn Steakhouse, issued the following statement:

"We are extremely thankful no one was inside the restaurant at the time of the fire. We appreciate the efforts of DeKalb County firefighters and are grateful they are all safe. Right now, the well-being of our team members is our number one priority. We are already working to place them at other LongHorn locations, as well as other Darden restaurants, in Atlanta."

Firefighters said the fire appears to have started in or near the kitchen area. They are working to determine the exact cause.

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