LOMIRA (WITI) -- An early morning fire destroyed a Burger King restaurant and BP gas station in Lomira early Friday, November 14th.
Dodge County Sheriff’s officials say several departments were called out to battle the blaze around 6:19 a.m. Close to 100 firefighters helped put out the blaze.
The smoke was visible for miles.
"There was a time there was so much smoke, you couldn`t see the gas pumps even," said Burger King assistant manager, Kim Wietor.
What's left of the building is now a huge pile of rubble. Wietor called 911, when someone outside told her the roof was on fire.
"Eventually the roof caved in, and I just watched where I worked, the whole entire inside burn down, we heard each window pop, it was really sad," said Wietor.
Wietor and her daughter Stephanie, who also works there, as well as the other employee who was inside with them are grateful they got out safely.
"We still have each other, and that is all that matters, that everybody is okay," said Stephanie Wietor.
The employees consider themselves a family, even though they're not all related. They're doing their best to stay strong, as they worry about how they'll pay their bills.
"We have all watched each other`s kids grow up, been through all of each other`s lives, and all of my kids have worked here. I have four kids and we have all worked here. Some of them still do," said Kim Wietor.
Lomira's fire chief was the first one on the scene shortly after the call came in. He says crews shut down the utilities at the next door BP station immediately, as a precaution.
But he didn't expect the fire to be so tough to contain. It took about two hours to put out.
"My guys went in just using the fire extinguisher at first, but shortly after that, I saw there were flames all over on top of the roof," said Lomira's fire chief, Brian Ries.
There is a huge cleanup operation, and employees are trying to see if they can salvage anything from inside. But whatever is left can't replace what they've lost.
"Pray for us and our families please," said Kim Wietor.
The fire chief says it's possible the chimney failed, but the cause of the fire is still under investigation. The fire chief estimates the damage is upwards of one million dollars.
The Lomira Fire Chief tells FOX6 News damage is expected to be around $1 million.
Nobody was hurt in the fire.
There has been a fund set up for any one who wants to assist those that are now jobless. TSB Bank is accepting donations for these families effected to the "BK Employee Benefit Fund."
Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.