Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – Smoke could be seen coming from the roof of the building that’s been home to the KFC & Long John Silver's restaurants in Lexington just after midnight Wednesday as firefighters and fire trucks surrounded the businesses handling what was first dispatched as a working commercial structure fire inside. The classification “working” is normally used by the fire service to indicate that there is enough of an issue that crews will need to intercede and “work” to extinguish a fire or deal with its aftermath. Those two well-known eateries have been located at the intersection of North Lake Drive and Sunset Boulevard in the town for many years.
The county’s 911 dispatch center was notified of the call around 12:00 a.m. and firefighters were on the scene quickly as were officers from the Lexington Police Department. Crews immediately checked the building for any fire extension as Tower 10, a truck with a hydraulic ladder and basket on its tip that responds out of the Lexington station, lifted more firefighters on the roof to see if any flames had extended there. Another ladder truck was raised to the roof on the opposite side of the building and several other fire trucks surrounded the structure. Bystanders said that it appeared as if any fire inside the store was quickly extinguished, but the building had a great deal of smoke in it that the crews from multiple fire stations were removing. Police officers kept the few bystanders there from getting too close so that the firefighters could go about their work unhindered.
Lexington County has not yet released what caused any fire inside that created the smoke or initiated the call to the 911 emergency center. They have also not released any damage assessments to the businesses. It is not known if the restaurants will be able to open at their normal time on Thursday or if at all. That decision will be made by the businesses’ owner in close consultation with the appropriate inspectors from various agencies that check safety, structural, and electrical components after a fire or some other emergency.