EDEN, N.C. — It was an explosion that literally rocked the city of Eden.
It’s hard to forget the surveillance video from last summer showing a KFC coming apart in the blink of an eye, police say from an accidental gas leak. Thankfully, no one was hurt in the blast.
Eight months later, the fast-food restaurant is just days away from serving customers again.
Friday night, the owner hosted a private dinner for first responders to show his appreciation.
A fire captain told FOX8 when he pulled up on the damage on July 11, 2019, it was incomparable to anything else in his career.
“I responded and all I saw was just a level parking lot pretty much and debris everywhere,” said Capt. Pete Dubois, with the Eden Fire Department.
Marcus Shelton owns the KFC in Eden. It’s the store where he started his management career in the 90s. He says the first hour after learning about the explosion was agonizing because he didn’t know if everyone was OK.
“It was just a pile of rubble here and all the first responders from Eden were here on Highway 14, out here the road was completely shut down. The elating thing for me was when I was able to talk to my general manager who was already here and know that all of my employees were all okay,” said Shelton.
Nine of those same employees are already on board to come back.
“The bricks and mortar were not my concern at that point and once I knew everyone was OK we knew we would come back to this point at some point,” said Shelton.
When the KFC opens up back this month it will open as a flagship prototype building for the chain, just one of eight in the country.
“It’s very exciting to me this restaurant holds a special place in my heart and our family as a whole and we are extremely excited about it,” said Shelton.
The restaurant will officially open its doors to the public on March 10 at 11 a.m.