Petersburg grocery store catches fire

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - Fire breaks out at a local grocery store causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage. Investigators say the blaze started in the ceiling of Harrison's Supermarket in Petersburg early this morning.

Investigators say the store burned for quite sometime before anyone noticed smoke and called for help.

Harrison's Supermarket has been a fixture in the community for years.

"I normally come here for my meats and steaks, pork, things of that nature," said A. J. Nunnally.

Shoppers showed up this morning only to discover that the store is closed because it caught fire.

"I'm sorry to see it happen. I hope they'll be able to get it straight pretty quickly," said Nunnally.

The blaze caused some three hundred thousand dollars worth of damage.

"A lot of heavy fire damage. A lot of smoke and water damage. It started in the office area  in the ceiling area above the office," said Jeff Fleming, Deputy Fire Marshal.

Investigators say a police officer was driving by the business around one this morning when she saw smoke.

"The fire had been burning for a bit probably because of the brick construction it wasn't able to get out and be seen. And at the time of morning too, it was cold, nobody was out in the neighborhood to see it," said Fleming.

Firefighters had a tough time getting inside the market. The front door is blocked by a fence that's chained and locked. Responders cut their way in and kicked down the door. It took a dozen firefighters about 20 minutes to contain the blaze.

The owners gathered at the market to access all of the damage. Firefighters have a message for other business owners and residents.

"You want to be careful with overloading your electrical supplies for your store. And the use of extension cords - we don't want you using extension cords," said Fleming.

It's unclear at this point if the owners will reopen the market.

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