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Fire destroys several small businesses in downtown Blue Ridge

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. — Fire investigators are working to determine the cause of a fire over the weekend that destroyed several businesses in Blue Ridge, Georgia.

At around 1:40 p.m. Saturday, firefighters responded to reports of a fire inside Danielle’s Cafe.

By the time firefighters arrived, the flames had spread to multiple nearby structures.

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As of Monday evening, fire officials say nine businesses have been reported as a total loss.

“This is one of our worst fears that something like this happens,” Kevin Panter, a volunteer firefighter and lifelong resident of Blue Ridge said. “Being a firefighter here for 38 years, I’ve rode up and down these streets on a bicycle as a kid and you always worry about these buildings catching fire.”

Panter says despite facing strong winds and dry conditions, firefighters were able to contain the flames before they could spread to other businesses along Main Street, a popular tourist destination in the downtown area.

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“This comes at a bad time,” he added. “Obviously, the start of the holiday season.”

Fire officials told Channel 2′s Michael Seiden that it could be several weeks before they’re able to determine the cause.

Panter said that all but two of the impacted businesses are insured.

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