2 Virginia Beach restaurants damaged by fire; 1 owner says blaze caused by cigarette

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The coronavirus pandemic has been hard enough for businesses, but now a couple of restaurants in Virginia Beach are closed after a devastating fire.

It happened on April 30 off Pleasure House Road.

The blaze destroyed Sal’s Pizzeria and caused significant smoke damage to 1608 Crafthouse next door.

10 On Your Side talked to the owner of 1608 Crafthouse, who said a cigarette butt caused the blaze.

“I’ve never been that nervous or scared in my life, said Kevin Sharkey, owner of 1608 Crafthouse.

Sharkey said he and his staff were getting ready for the dinner rush when they realized something wasn’t right.

“The smoke started coming through the ceiling,” Sharkey said. “By the time 911 was called, it was already burning out the roof.”

Diners and employees inside 1608 Crafthouse evacuated the restaurant and saw Sal’s Pizzeria next door ablaze.

Sharkey said firefighters told them someone tossed a cigarette butt on the ground which eventually ignited the siding and quickly spread.

The 1608 Crafthouse didn’t catch fire but Sharkey said they lost an estimated $10,000 worth of food and merchandise alone due to smoke damage. A new HVAC system and ceiling will have to be installed.

Sharkey said they’re grateful no one was hurt, but it’s another unexpected setback over the last year.

“We waited so long last year to be able to use the patio and to be able to have people back in here,” Sharkey said. “We’re down for almost two weeks now with something that was someone’s negligence and unfortunately completely out of our control.”

However, Sharkey said they’ve made it this far so they’ll keep pushing forward.

He hopes to reopen for to-go orders by the end of the week and for dine-in later this month.

“The support we have from the regulars and the locals and the people that come here obviously got us through the pandemic and I really feel like it’s going to help us bounce back,” Sharkey said.

If you’d like to help, Sharkey said simply order a meal once the restaurant reopens.

The owner of Sal’s Pizzeria was not available for an interview. 

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