PANAMA CITY BEACH -- Employees at a local seafood restaurant are trying to salvage what they can after an early morning fire nearly claimed the building.
About 20 workers are now unsure of their job security. One local man says he has worked at the business for nearly 10 years.
Bay County fire fighters arrive to a fire just after midnight Sunday morning at Montego Bay restaurant.
Nancy Schilling, Sunsations employee said, "I've lived here a long time so it's hard to see that."
"I felt bad for my friend because he works there i figured he wouldn't have a job,” said Neighbor Shane Gibson.
Ashes and debris surround Montego Bay restaurant. Bay County fire chief says it took about four hours to put the fire out.
Joseph Mandeville is a cook at Montego Bay Restaurant. He says he’s worked there for nearly 10 years.
"Being there that long, it was like a family. One customer called it cheers,” Mandeville said.
He also does weather photography for fun and hung some of his portraits inside the restaurant.
"I was able to get two pictures out of the fire. Everything else is pretty much smashed, destroyed or burnt,” he said.
Some residents and nearby business owners watched, waiting for the flames to be put out. It took Bay County fire fighters about an hour to contain the fire.
Mandeville just wants to get back into the restaurant; a place he considers home.
"Hopefully they'll rebuild it…bigger and better than it was. Because I know I'd like to see it. I know a lot of people that work there and put all that time in, they'd you know they'd like to see it too.”
Investigators determined the fire started in the attic. They say it was an electrical fire. No word on when or if the business will reopen.