Neighbors react after fire destroys restaurant at Buckroe Shopping Center

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HAMPTON, Va. – Hampton firefighters are working to determine what exactly started a large fire at a restaurant in the Pembroke and Old Buckroe area on Wednesday afternoon.

News 3

Crews responded to a two-alarm fire at Anna’s Pizza at the Buckroe Mall just after 4pm on Wednesday.

No one was hurt.

The owner of MD Hair Salon, who did not want to be identified, told News 3 that she was also worried about the damage to her store. She said she could smell an explosion near her living room.

“At first I thought it was like an active shootout,” she said. “I locked the door, and the lady was like, ‘No, get out. Get out.’

“I went to see, [and] I realized it was like thick smoke, very dark,” she added. “I don’t know what started it, but we were here to see the explosion, a big fire, and the fire progressed rapidly.”

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News 3

Firefighters said it took about an hour to extinguish the blaze and it also affected four surrounding businesses.

“We believe the facility was closed,” said Battalion Chief Anthony Chittum of the Hampton Fire and Rescue Division. “There were no customers inside when we arrived.”

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News 3

Hampton firefighters told News 3 talking to business owners to find out what started it all will be key. On Thursday, investigators searched the rubble to try to uncover the cause of the fire.

“The whole roof system is gone on that particular building, so it’s going to have to be redone,” said Battalion Chief Anthony Chittum, assistant chief fire marshal for the Hampton Fire and Rescue Division.

On Thursday, residents drove by shocked to see the damage. Pamela Johnson remembers when Anna was built.

“Anna was the best. I just don’t know what they’re going to do. It’s terrible,” Johnson said. “Hopefully they can rebuild.”

Randy Bowman, the owner of Bowman’s Soul-N-The-Wall restaurant, has stopped offering jobs to those affected at Anna’s and Hunan Garden Chinese restaurant.