Multiple crews respond to Restaurant Row fire

Multiple agencies responded to a three-alarm fire at New China Buffet on Restaurant Row near North Myrtle Beach around 2:15 Friday morning.

Flames were shooting through the roof of the restaurant when firefighters arrived.

Spike Cohen's dog got loose around that same time Thursday morning, and when he went to search for him his dog, he came across flames he says were at least 100 feet in the air.

"I had two thoughts, one that I hope my dog is okay and not in fire, second thought was that I hope Chuck's steakhouse wasn't on fire," said Cohen.

Horry County Fire Rescue called for mutual aid from Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach Fire Departments.

When crews arrived, the flames had already engulfed the New China Buffet, so they starting fighting to save Giant Crab, the restaurant next door.

"Our priority did go to the building that was threatened," said Douglas Cline, HCFR Chief.

Fire officials say the Giant Crab is closed for the season, but could operate under normal conditions if it needed to.

George Williams is a cook at Original Benjamin's just three buildings down on Restaurant Row.

When Williams first heard the news, he thought he would be out a job and steady income.

"I saw the news at six this morning and I saw the fire come across the TV screen and they said Restaurant Row and I thought it was Original Benjamin's. I said oh my God, I said oh my Lord, I'm going to be out a job. How am I going to pay my bills? I had hoped it wasn't us, but when I got here it was China Buffet," said Williams.

While the owner and employees of China Buffet recover, investigators will be working to find the cause.

Horry County Fire Rescue Chief Fred Crosby says the New China Buffet is a total loss.