Fire Destroys Popular Restaurant - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/05/04

Fire Destroys Popular Restaurant

A black, charred skeleton of a building is all that remains of the restaurant. A black, charred skeleton of a building is all that remains of the restaurant.
Williams Seafood has been a Savannah landmark since the 1950's. Williams Seafood has been a Savannah landmark since the 1950's.

Williams Seafood, a Savannah landmark since the 1950's, was destroyed by fire early Sunday morning. The blaze broke out at the restaurant off of Highway 80 a little before six in the morning. Nearby residents said they heard a few explosions coming from the building right before it went up in flames. Now a black, charred skeleton of a building is all that remains of the popular restaurant.

"It is basically a hulk now, there's not a great deal left," said Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Police Public Information Officer Bucky Burnsed.

Southside firefighters had the blaze under control within minutes, but stayed on scene through much of the afternoon to battle several hot spots hidden in the debris. At one point, the flames and smoke were so bad, traffic on the east and west side of Highway 80 was brought to a standstill for over an hour.

The flames are gone, and now so is the historic restaurant. The family owned eatery had also become a part of other people's families throughout the years. They said the loss of the restaurant is also devastating for them.

"For those of us who are natives of Savannah, William's Seafood has been part of our lives since birth. To see it go, this is a day a lot of Savannahians will remember," said Burnsed.

The cause of the fire is still unknown. Local and state fire investigators, as well as arson investigators, will be back on the scene early tomorrow.

Reported by: Melanie A. Ruberti, mruberti@wtoc.com

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