HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A fire at a strip mall on Nine Mile Road in eastern Henrico County early Sunday morning left several businesses seriously damaged.
Henrico fire officials said they were called out around 2 a.m., which was several hours after powerful storms downed trees and power lines nearby.
Firefighters spotted smoke and flames behind the seafood shop and attempted an interior attack at first, but had to pull back when the roof collapsed.
It was a slow and methodical process that continued into Sunday morning as crews worked to get the fire under control.
There was only one physical injury when a firefighter hurt his knee.
What started as an electrical fire damaged multiple businesses and left several shops deemed unsafe by inspectors.
Employees of several of those shops said there is a real connection between the folks who work there and the community.
"All the owners are just pitching in helping each other,” Justin Robinson, who owns 9 Mile Wireless, said. “It's like one big family here off Nine Mile Road."
Mr. Coleman, who works at Dominican Barbers, said he cherishes his job.
"It's been really great and this right here is probably like the most hurting feeling anybody can go through in a business, you know," Coleman said. "I know for everyone; it's kind of hard for everyone right now."
Allison Burrell, who is a manager at the barbershop, said customers loved coming in because of the pleasant atmosphere.
For many employees like Burrell, the space felt like more than a place to work.
"Like home, this was home,” Burrell said. “I wasn't planning on going anywhere until I retire."
Coleman hopes the businesses can rebuild.
"I know it's going to take time to recover from something like this,” he said. “But I just hope we come back into business together again. Yeah, I’m truly going to miss this spot for right now."
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