Customers, vendors mourn loss of Virginia antique center after destroyed by fire

Customers and vendors mourn the loss of the Mount Vernon Antique Center after it was destroyed by fire on Monday, Dec. 25, 2017. (Tom Roussey/ABC7)

Vendors and customers say they’re devastated after a Christmas night fire destroyed a building that had been an antique mall for the better part of 56 years.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue say they were called to the Mount Vernon Antique Center around 9:15 p.m. Monday in the Alexandria part of Fairfax County. Flames could be seen shooting into the air from the roof and eventually some of the walls in the two-story building collapsed.

The fire department says the building is a total loss. Tuesday afternoon, they were moving the rubble around so they could better investigate what caused the fire, which appeared to have started on the second floor near the back.

The building had stood at 8101 Richmond Highway (Route 1) since 1946. It started as a lumber yard. A former owner tells ABC7 it first opened as an antique mall in 1961, and after converting to a furniture store it reopened as an antique mall in 1981.

Throughout the day vendors and longtime customers came by, stunned to see the landmark building largely reduced to rubble.

“I really hope they rebuild it. It’s going to be missed,” said customer Joe Latinka. I was up here last week. I do a lot of my Christmas shopping here. It’s a shame.”

Vendors say they’re not sure what the future holds – and they’re not sure if any insurance money will be available to help them start again.

“It’s gonna be a real loss,” said Craig Baker, one of around 30 vendors who rented space inside the antique center. “Hoping to sift through and see if there’s anything that can be saved, but I’m highly dubious.”

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