‘It hurt my heart...’ Community responds after T’s Seafood catches fire

Published: Sep. 7, 2020 at 9:25 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A decades-old, family-owned restaurant went up in flames this morning: that was the scene at T’s Seafood Restaurant around 3:00 a.m.

Augusta Firefighters were called to T’s Restaurant on Mike Padgett Highway and located a fire in the back washroom area of the building.

It took them about 30 minutes to put out the fire, but the family that owns the restaurant says firefighters had to go back two more times to put out more flames

Fire officials believe flames sparked from an electrical shortage near the kitchen but they’re still investigating. No one was injured.

Multiple friends and family have come by the restaurant since early that morning. As for the owner, his wife says the restaurant is his life. And everyone is just trying to figure out what to do next.

“It hurt my heart when I found out this morning,” Pam Harman, a family friend, said.

Harman says they came together like they always have, except it’s usually over a meal.

“I’ve been coming here, like I said, for 35 years. My children grew up coming here, now their children come here,” Harman said. “Hushpuppies are number one.”

The now charred building has hosted rehearsal dinners and birthdays. And the sign outside has become a message board for the entire community.

This family business of T’s Seafood has kept south Augusta fed since 1952.

The owner, Garrett, took over the restaurant after his father Harry Fulcher, or “T” as they used to call him.

His memory resides on a bridge on Mike Padgett Highway.

“I hate it for him. This is his life and livelihood, and his children,” Mike DeLaigle, the owner’s brother-in-law, said.

DeLaigle says this place is an institution, and things were looking up for the business.

“He told me that this past Friday night was the best Friday night that he has had since the COVID-19 outbreak,” he said.

But now there’s a hole in the roof and a question mark for the future.

But as the family business has traveled 68 years from generation to generation, they say, there’s no doubt T’s will stay right here.

“He will reopen. Don’t know at this time when he’ll reopen, but he will reopen,” DeLaigle said.

The family says they likely won’t be able to reopen for several months. They will get an insurance assessment tomorrow, but for now they’re preserving what food they can in a refrigerated trailer.

T’s Restaurant, meanwhile, will likely be closed for an “undetermined time,” fire officials said, due to extensive damage to that one room.

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