Two-alarm fire destroys Petersburg building

By Nicole Bell - bio | email | facebook
By Sunni Blevins - bio | email

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - In Petersburg a two-alarm fire broke out just before three Tuesday morning in the 100 block of West Washington Street. It destroyed two buildings, knocked out power to just about everyone near the fire scene, and shut down the Petersburg Transit Center.

Nearly 15 hours after the fire started, hot spots remain. Crews are still on scene working to secure this area.

Crews were fighting hard for nearly four hours as the smoke was still billowing and hot spots just wouldn't go out. It was a situation Petersburg firefighters could not tackle alone.

"We basically had assistance from Chesterfield, Colonial Heights, Prince George, Fort Lee and Dinwiddie," said Chief T.C. Hairston.

No one was hurt, but the three story vacant building is destroyed and the damage spread to other places along that stretch of street. A fire tore through Quinn Hall. It's owned by St. Joseph Catholic Church.

"It housed Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner for the needy and many different things over the course of the years," said Pastor Joseph Biber.

As daylight gave us a shocking look at what was left of the apartment building, Dominion crews worked to restore power in the area, including to the bus terminal right across the street --which had to close.

Passengers were instead directed to get on buses at nearby locations.

Terrence Bush works at a barber shop three doors down from where the fire started.

"I was thinking it was going to be gone, for real," Terrence said.

The shop looks okay from the outside, but Bush is waiting to assess the possible damage on the inside.

About a block away --- Andrew's Grill is open for business as usual. The owner is grateful his establishment was not impacted by the fire.

"As soon as I got to the police station coming from Colonial Heights, I saw dark, I say, 'I hope I have a light,'" said owner Fotios Melis. "I'm very happy, as soon as I got the corner, and saw they have lights over there, I said 'I'm going to be okay.'"

For now, the clean-up and the investigation continue. Portions of West Washington Street are still blocked off. The Transit Center to reopen Wednesday as normal. 

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