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Landmark Tabor City restaurant burns

Posted on: 06.15.2018 at 12:14 p.m.

A landmark eatery in Tabor Cty was destroyed early Friday by a fire of unknown origin.

“We will reopen,” said owner Rusty Tyson. “We’ll be open again in time for oyster season. This is just a bump in the road.”

Tabor City Police discovered the fire around 3:30 a.m., according to officials, and flames were already shooting through the roof. Tabor City firefighters were assisted by Williams Township, Loris, Roseland and Tabor City EMS. Firefighters fought the fire until after 10 a.m., then were recalled after the blaze rekindled.

Patrons and workers share hugs and tears over the fire at Dale’s Friday morning.

The building is a total loss, according to Deputy Fire Marshal Josh Cartrette. The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

“Because it was a commercial structure,” Cartrette said, “We’ve asked the assistance of the SBI fire investigator. There’s no indication the fire was suspicious.”

Employees helped move pictures, sopping stacks of souvenir shirts, and mementos out of the building Friday morning after the blaze. Restaurant patrons from as far away as Mullins, S.C., called and came by to offer condolences, assistance and comfort, Tyson said.

Foam drips from the ruined ceiling of one of the dining rooms at the Tabor City Dale’s Seafood. The cause of Friday’s fire is under investigation. 

While the restaurant was destroyed, the huge live oak shading the building sustained only minor damage. The tree is estimated at well over 100 years old, and Tyson said he asked firefighters to keep it wet during the fire.

“The building we can replace,” he said. “Our tree is another story.”

Tyson said he plans to begin clearing the wreckage of the building as soon as the fire marshal and investigators gave him to okay to get to work.

“When I first opened it,” he said, “we were serving food in 87 days. We can do that again.

“I learned a positive mental attitude in the military, and that’s what I am staying with,” Tyson said. “God has been with us all the way, and he still is. We’ll be all right. Dale’s will be back.”


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