HAMPTON, Va. — A Hampton community is heartbroken after a fire tore through multiple businesses Wednesday at the Buckroe Shopping Center.
Several eyewitnesses send videos to 13News Now that captured the flames and plumes of smoke coming from a section of the strip mall.
A total of four storefronts are damaged, according to Hampton Fire & Rescue Battalion Chief Anthony Chittum. He said the fire started at Anna's Pizza, which was closed at the time of the fire. It is now a total loss.
More than 24 hours since the fire burned, shoppers and passersby could still smell the smoke. Char and piles of rubble are now all that's left behind.
"It's a disaster," said resident Lennis McNair, Jr.
Car after car, people could not help but stop at one end of the Buckroe Shopping Center.
"I don't know how they're going to survive. Maybe the insurance will help them out. I don't know," said McNair.
"I know Anna's was a popular place. They had a really good business for a lot of years. The little Chinese takeout [Hunan Garden] on the end, they're not as old as Anna's, but they had a really good business too," said Ross Jones, a resident.
Chittum told 13News Now the fire moved quickly Wednesday, shortly after 4 p.m. Crews put it out in about an hour and a half.
Damage from the flames, smoke and water spans four businesses, including Hunan Garden and two salons.
Chittum said investigators are still looking into what caused the fire at Anna's; they went back to the scene Thursday.
Regulars at Anna's, both on social media and in front of the rubble, reflected fondly on memories.
"I've been coming here since I was a kid," said Joshua Clark. "I don't know that words can really express what [Anna's] means to us."
"They're going to be missed. If the community can help them get back on their feet, they probably will do it. We just have to wait and see," Jones added.
Neighbors hope there is an opportunity to rebuild at Buckroe Shopping Center, which they said carries rich history.
"This was the first one we had here, other than a couple of grocery stores," said Jones.