RANSON — The owner of the Dairy Queen destroyed in a May 19 fire says the store will be rebuilt on the same site and could reopen by the beginning of next year.
Store owner Vicki Peterson, 49, said as many employees as possible were relocated to other stores in the area following the May 19 fire that destroyed the Ranson Dairy Queen at 109 S. Mildred St. Peterson said she was thankful no one was hurt. “Luckily, no one was in the building. That was my first concern,” said Peterson.
The fire, which was revealed to motion detectors in the store, started at about 4:20 a.m. “I was there by 5:15 a.m. talking to my brother Roger about how big a building we would need to replace it.” The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Peterson said it might have started in the heating and air conditioning units on the roof, but they were destroyed in the blaze. “The roof was in flames,” she said. “Firemen were in the building but got out two minutes before the roof collapsed.” Peterson said a contractor at the 7-Eleven store across the street saw the fire and called 911 but the flames were about 10 feet high.
“The fire was fully involved before the firefighters got there,” Peterson said. Peterson and her brother own Peterson Enterprises, which has its main office in Staunton, Va. The Petersons have Dairy Queens in Martinsburg, Shepherdstown and Inwood. Peterson relocated as many of her 26 employees as possible to other stores. “We placed everyone who was willing and able,” she said. “We paid everyone the day of the fire. We’re all like a family.” The Ranson Dairy Queen has been on Mildred Street since about 1988.