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Overnight fire destroys Poquoson restaurant

Investigators are trying to figure out what caused the fire at the Surf Rider restaurant located at the Whitehouse Cove Marina on Rens Road.

POQUOSON, Va. — A seafood restaurant went up in flames in Poquoson early Wednesday morning.

Poquoson firefighters, along with crews from Hampton and York counties, all worked together to extinguish the fire at the Surf Rider restaurant located at the Whitehouse Cove Marina on Rens Road.

The call for the fire came in around 2:13 a.m. and a second alarm was called due to the intensity of the blaze. Video and images of the fire appear to show a gas line is on fire.

Hazmat teams were also called out as fire crews worked to put out the flames.

The restaurant, which opened seven years ago, had become a staple in the community. Neighbors told 13News Now they were awoken to the sound of a loud explosion.

The owners of the Whitehouse Cove Marina told 13News Now the restaurant is now a total loss.

Firefighter crews from Poquoson, Hampton, Newport News, and York County battled the blaze on boats and on land.

Poquoson firefighters said the issue was the gas meter inside the building caught fire, so the gas company crews had to dig for a pipe to clamp the gas off.

No one was hurt in this fire, but two boats have some damage from the flames and the Surf Rider restaurant is done for.

The business is right on the Whitehouse Cove marina.

Restaurant employees and neighbors watched speechless as fire crews battled the burning flames, for hours.

“It’s very very overwhelming. That’s as much as I can say,” said employee Jake Lee.

Neighbor Marie Hamann said she heard an explosion before seeing the fire, “everybody has been working really hard, but it’s devastating to see something like this right in your neighborhood.”

Hamann said she’s mostly saddened for the 65 employees.

“There’s a lot of people that I know who work at Surf Rider and some it’s their livelihood,” said Hamann.

The owners of the restaurant said there are seven other Surf Rider locations, and that the displaced employees will be given the opportunity to work at another Surf Rider restaurant.

In the daylight, employee Garrett White said he’s less worried about where he’s going to work next and more about his co-workers.

“We’re all family,” said White. “So many memories there is the worst thing. I mean my manager, general manager had pictures of her kids in there. We have documents in there. We have so much stuff in there that is just irreplaceable.”

He said the loss of Surf Rider’s business hurts other businesses too.

“All of the other restaurants are going to see this, from people not coming here,” said White.

It’s a loss of a local restaurant that feeling like a loss of much more, to this Poquoson community.

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