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Restaurant damaged in fire is open again

Little G's is back this week, and so are the customers.

"I stop here all the time," Tonya Waller said Tuesday as she enjoyed breakfast with her son Porter, 1, and other family at the restaurant on West Hill Street.

A fire that broke out about the start of business on Feb. 16 destroyed three businesses and caused the popular Little G's to close for repairs and to clear out the smoke damage.

The investigation of that fire continues, but with little new information. Samples from the debris were picked up by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives after the fire.

Thomson Fire Chief Rick Sewell said Tuesday that he had spoken with state fire marshal's investigators as recently as Friday and that the cause of the fire had not been pinpointed.

"I'm hoping sometime this week to hear something from him," Chief Sewell said.

Reports that demolition work on three businesses would begin this week could not be confirmed.

Building owner John T. McNeill Jr. could not be reached for comment.

Several officials at Thomson City Hall said no permits had been issued for demolition or construction.

Xtreme Signs and Graphics and an adjoining antiques and collectibles shop were destroyed. The adjacent building, which housed Annie Bailey's Tax Service, was destroyed, and the operator has found a new office on Washington Road.

One door west, the stock had been removed from Balloon Delights, which suffered smoke and roof damage during the fire.

But it was business as usual next door at Little G's. Diners were glad to see the restaurant open at 5 a.m. Monday. By midmorning Tuesday, it was enjoying its customary stream of customers.

Kelly Barnes of Krazy Kleen Windows made his rounds Tuesday, leaving the once cloudy windows shimmering.

Little G's owner Lisa Adams said the restaurant opened with little notice but did advertise on the radio and post the news on Facebook. "Word of mouth is pretty powerful in this town," she said.

Monday was a hectic day, though, she said. The city had to turn off the water from 10 a.m. till noon for a project nearby. "We had enough water to get us through that, but the panic that that caused me ... oh," Mrs. Adams said.

Phone service was interrupted because of wire damage from the fire, and one power outlet had to be abandoned.

The restaurant rearranged the interior to allow more seating, she said. Mrs. Adams said she hopes to begin opening the popular breakfast and lunch business several evenings each week, with a slightly revised evening menu.

One of the larger tables at midmorning Tuesday was occupied by three EMTs. "It's kind of like the EMT breakfast spot," said Matt Johnson, an EMT-I with the McDuffie County EMS.

EMT-I Matthew Owens of McDuffie County EMS and EMT-I Chip Bentley of the private South Star Ambulance Service agreed they were glad to see the restaurant open again.

Yet another story of small town cooperation emerged at a nearby booth, where waitress Lynn Bishop was sharing breakfast with her brother, Bob Corbitt.

Mr. Corbitt said Little G's workers didn't have to miss lunch while they were restoring the diner. "While they were in here cleaning, restaurants in the community brought food, gave them lunch," he said.

Mrs. Adams confirmed that her staff received food from Hogie Joe's on Railroad Street and from Mike Neal of Neal's Barbecue on Augusta Highway.

"It's like something that would happen in Mayberry," Mr. Corbitt said.

Web posted on Thursday, March 03, 2011

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