MARBLE FALLS, Texas - Smoke was still rising over charred remains Thursday morning after a fire destroyed China Kitchen and multiple other businesses in Marble Falls.
Tracey Becker was working late Wednesday evening at Highland Lakes Title across the street.
"It wasn't 30 minutes, and it was totally engulfed," said Becker. "I couldn't believe it. I mean I was glad that I didn't see anybody, there weren't any cars where they usually have people dropping off their kids and stuff like that."
Jason Coleman owns the building next door to China Kitchen.
"I actually just bought it on Monday," said Coleman.
The office and retail space is currently empty, and the building was able to escape serious damage.
"Just minor damage on the outside and some smoke damage inside, so we were very fortunate," said Coleman. "Flames were engulfing it on the sides and the fire department did an amazing job of keeping the flames off the building and isolating it."
Photo courtesy: Ali Wheeler
Longtime Marble Falls residents, like Tristian Poteet, stopped by on Thursday to take it all in.
"It's been here for as long as I can remember," said Poteet. "This is some true devastation for our community, it’s a monumental building, we've all been here to eat and enjoy the businesses…we're very sad and our hearts and prayers go out to each of the business owners."
There are a few GoFundMes that have been set up for some of the businesses that were destroyed:
- Family Taekwondo Center and Marble Falls Best After School Program and Summer Camp
- GoFundMe: Help restore a small business
- Beautiful & Blessed Esthetics
The Highland Lakes Crisis Network has also set up a fund to help those displaced.