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Destroyed Chesapeake convenience store owner: ‘I should have been able to save it’

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CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Before Roundtree’s Variety burned to the ground Monday, its owner was inside trying to save the longtime landmark.

“It did hurt me,” said Fred Roundtree as he pointed to the piles upon piles of charred rubble. “Everything I got is gone!” 

Roundtree had operated his convenience and food store inside the 1955 era building located along Great Bridge Boulevard since late 2016. He said he was there shortly after the fire started.

“When I pulled up here around 12:45 pm, I have flames out the back window,” Roundtree said. “I rushed right into building, grabbed a fire extinguisher and started putting the fire out.”

When the Chesapeake Fire Department arrived on scene, Roundtree said he was ordered to come out. 

“I could have probably put my fire out if I had a fire extinguisher or what [firefighters] had,” Roundtree said. Firefighters never entered the building, telling 10 On Your Side that the fire was just too strong.

“There was no risk,” said Chesapeake Fire Captain Steven Bradley. “There was no rescue. There was no life in danger.  It was just the building itself, so it is safer for us to fight the fire from the outside.”

Roundtree, while frustrated, said he is sad for his customers.

“They appreciated me being in the neighborhood,” Roundtree said. “I’m fine. I’m going to be OK one way or another. Cause I don’t slow down, I keep going. I persevere. I will make it through this and I’ll keep going.”

Chesapeake fire officials still haven’t released the cause of the fire.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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