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Fire claims newest Florala business

Owner asks for help after 11 successful days

When Travis McKinney opened Travellingman’s BBQ in Florala, the community accepted him and the restaurant immediately.

On Friday he fed the football team, a last-minute deal, Florala Fire Chief Michael Cheshire said.

By Sunday morning, it was all over. A fire that originated near the breaker box in the 5th Street building completely destroyed the facility.

“The call came in at 4:11 a.m.,” McKinney said. “The fire had gotten in the back of the building when we had to make our way in. It was already in the wall and the ceiling.”

A portion of the ceiling actually fell on the chief and a fellow firefighter.

“We lost our exit way there for a minute, but my guys got us out.”

The FPD was assisted by Lockhart Fire Department and backed up by Haynes Ambulance Service.

Cheshire said the building was a total loss, and the state fire marshal determined the cause accidental.

McKinney said the 11 days he was in business were great “up until the fire.”

McKinney posted on social media that he “dropped just about every penny I had into the building, equipment and décor,” and learned the morning of the fire that the contents were not insured.

“We have had great support from the local community offering assistance,” he wrote. “Now, I have spoken to a few individuals about a new building. At this point, I was able to salvage majority of the small equipment such as steam pans, toaster, some pots and pans to include utensils.

“Starting over I’m looking for a building to rent, naturally a smoker to borrow or rent, pecan wood, commercial fridge stainless steel tables, 1/3rd and 1/6th pans, 18 to 20-quart sauce pans, tables and chairs.

“I can build and paint as we need,” he said.

He has started a GoFundMe account with a goal of raising $3,000. When he opens, he plans to say thank you to members of the fire department in a big way.

“Once we open, you guys are invited, and the first meal is on us,” he said.