Waynesboro Popeyes burns to the ground

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November 17, 2006

People in Burke County are buzzing today about the fire that destroyed a popular downtown Waynesboro restaurant this morning.

The Popeyes not far from the courthouse is gone for now.

The call came in at about 4:15 a.m. The restaurant was closed, and nobody was inside.

When firefighters arrived, flames were coming through the roof.

"Went inside, weren't able to get access to the fire...appeared to be all in the attic area," Deputy Fire Chief Robert Parrish told News 12. "At that time I had everybody come out, went into a defensive mode."

That means spraying water on the fire, and making sure it doesn't spread to nearby buildings. Popeyes itself burned to the ground.

The people who worked there won't be out of a job, though.

"Most of them will be re-assigned to other Popeyes in the area," said franchise owner Mark Rinna. Rinna owns several Popeyes in this area. He was philosophical about this loss.

"Well, they're going to miss Popeyes Chicken. I can only say we'll be back and do so as quickly as possible."

The restaurant was open Thursday, but the chief doesn't think the fire started in the kitchen. He says he believes it was confined to the attic when it first started. They don't have an exact cause yet.

Before it was a Popeyes, the building housed a Hardee's restaurant.

The owner says he doesn't know how long the re-building process might take, but one thing's for certain: Popeyes will be missed in downtown Waynesboro.