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Fire that destroyed Virginia Beach Oceanfront businesses ruled accidental

Owners react to businesses being completely ravaged by fire at Virginia Beach Oceanfront
Owners react to businesses being completely ravaged by fire at Virginia Beach Oceanfront
Owners react to businesses being completely ravaged by fire at Virginia Beach Oceanfront
T-Shirt Factory Fire
Posted at 11:49 AM, Jul 25, 2023

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The Virginia Beach Fire Department (VBFD) said its investigators, along with insurance investigators, have finished looking into the 3-alarm fire that destroyed three Oceanfront businesses on July 11.

75+ firefighters put out 3-alarm fire along Atlantic Avenue in Virginia Beach

Crews believe the fire started around 5:15 p.m. in the area of 27th Street and Atlantic Avenue, and it took over five hours of work from more than 75 firefighters to extinguish it.

Owners react to businesses being completely ravaged by fire at Virginia Beach Oceanfront

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75+ firefighters put out 3-alarm fire along Atlantic Avenue in Virginia Beach

Jay Greene
5:42 PM, Jul 11, 2023

The fire started in a void space just below the roof of the structure, and the direct cause of the incident is undetermined, according to the VBFD.

The structure was shared by three businesses: the T-Shirt Factory, Maple Tree Pancake & Waffle House and the King of the Sea restaurant.

The department said the void space where the fire started ran the whole length of the structure. Therefore, investigators ruled out the possibility that the fire started at only one of the three businesses, according to VBFD.

Officials said while the direct cause is undetermined, they have classified the fire as accidental. VBFD said reaching these conclusions marks the end of their investigation.

Property owners will be responsible for the clean-up and future plans for the site, officials added.

News 3 previously spoke with the owner of the Vakos Development Company, Matthew Vakos, which owns the now-destroyed property and building. At the time, he called the loss of the structure a “piece of broken history.”

Owners react to businesses being completely ravaged by fire at Virginia Beach Oceanfront

Owners who lost their businesses in the fire also expressed their grief including Maria Lindroos, whose parents ran Maple Tree Pancake & Waffle House before it was destroyed. She said the restaurant was an integral part of her family’s lives for decades.

"This was a devastation to my family. This is what my parents do every day. This is their one and only business," Maria told us.

The Vakos Development Company hasn’t shared any future plans for the area yet.

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