ATLANTA - Employees and customers at several businesses in the Ansley Mall II shopping plaza are lucky to be alive after many of the stores went up in flames Monday afternoon.
"It started in the dry cleaning place next door, then it just spread," American Haircuts owner Greg Martin said.
Martin said he wasn't there when the fire started, but said his employees shared the terrifying experience.
"They were finishing up their last round of haircuts when the last customer walked out then walked back in and told my employees "to run," Martin said.
Martin credits that customer with saving his employees' lives.
"You can replace stuff, but you can't replace a person," Martin said.
Martin said the fire couldn't have happened at a worse time.
"This is our busiest time of the year and now I've got employees without jobs and without income and it's the middle of the holiday season," Martin said. "I am going to try to find them work at our other locations."
The Atlanta Fire Department said preliminary reports indicate the fire was accidental.
Fire officials said the only person injured was an Atlanta firefighter who suffered first degree burns.
Many business owners returned to the complex Tuesday to salvage anything that's left in their stores.
Construction crews also began the cleanup process Tuesday.
No word on when the shop will reopen
The fire remains under investigation.