Beloved businesses at the Buckroe Mall in Hampton were destroyed by fire

Officials said the fire started at Anna’s Pizza on Wednesday afternoon and it was closed at the time.

HAMPTON, Va. – A community in Hampton is heartbroken after a fire tore through several businesses Wednesday at the Buckroe Mall.

Several eyewitnesses send videos to 13News Now that captured the flames and plumes of smoke coming from a section of the mall.

A total of four storefronts are damaged, according to Hampton Fire and 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 after the fire, shoppers and passers-by could still smell the smoke. Tank and pile of rubble are now all that remains.

“It’s a disaster,” said resident Lennis McNair, Jr.

Car after car, people couldn’t help but stop at one end of the Buckroe Mall.

“I don’t know how they’ll survive. Maybe the insurance will help them. I don’t know,” McNair said.

“I know Anna was a popular place. They had a really good deal for many years. The little Chinese take-out restaurant [Hunan Garden] In the end, they’re not as old as Anna’s, but they also had great deals,” local resident Ross Jones said.

Chittum told 13News Now the fire moved quickly on Wednesday shortly after 4 p.m. Crews extinguished it in about an hour and a half.

The flame, smoke and water damage affected four businesses, including Hunan Garden and two salons.

Chittum said investigators are still investigating what caused the fire at Anna’s house; they returned to the scene on Thursday.

Anna’s regulars, both on social media and in front of the rubble, fondly reminisced.

“I’ve been coming here since I was a kid,” said Joshua Clark. “I don’t know if words can truly express what [Anna’s] means to us.”

“We will miss them. If the community can help them get back on their feet, they probably will. We just have to wait and see,” Jones added.

Neighbors hope there will be an opportunity to rebuild the Buckroe Mall, which they say carries a rich history.

“It was the first one we had here, other than a few grocery stores,” Jones said.

Edwin S. Wolfe