East Texans escape Dairy Queen fire

By LaKecia Shockley - bio | email
Posted Michael Thompson - email

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - A restaurant fire in Longview sends employees and customers running for safety. The fire was at the Dairy Queen on north Eastman road in Longview around 1:30 Sunday afternoon.

Dark black smoke flowed so heavy from the Dairy Queen. You could see it from miles away.

"It happened so fast!" exclaimed Shinnett Strande, a Dairy Queen cashier.

"We just saw the black smoke, we started screaming and just ran," said D.Q. customer Lesia Forsyth. "That's all we could do."

About a dozen people, including customers and Dairy Queen employees, were inside the restaurant when they smelled smoke.

"About five minutes later, the cook came out of the kitchen and said, 'The building is on fire - you guys get out.' I looked up the whole ceiling was red," said Strande.

"We ate a bite of our burger and the next thing I knew, there was smoke bellowing out of the ceiling and the ceiling tiles were melting," said Forsyth. "We just started screaming, 'Fire, get out, get out, get out!' There were three or four little girls, and my son started pushing them out the door. The employee was really freaking out. She was worried about the cash register. I said, 'Don't worry about the cash.'"

"I was trying to get the cash register open, but it was too dark," said Dairy Queen cashier Strande. "I couldn't get it open. I was trying to get the money out."

Firefighters managed to save the money in the cash register along with a computer. The building suffered severe smoke and water damage.

"The building can be rebuilt, that's nothing. Everybody is OK; that's the main thing. We're just kind of shaken up a little bit," said Forsyth.

Officials says the fire started in the attic. They say the vent-a-hood caught fire and that's how the smoke spread.

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