CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — A massive fire destroyed a IHOP restaurant Monday morning in the Chesapeake area, officials say.
Crews with the Chesapeake Fire Department were called to the IHOP Taylor Road — in the Western Branch area — around 2:30 a.m. Responding firefighters found flames coming through the roof when they arrived.
A total of 35 firefighters responded to battle the blaze.
Officials said the fire quickly spread throughout the building, forcing firefighters to attack the flames from the outside. The fire was marked under control around 4:15 a.m.
Monique Entwistle is an employee at IHOP who returned to the business Monday afternoon to look at the damage.
“It hurts, it’s like our second home,” said Entwistle. “A lot of people came out here this morning, expecting to work and not knowing that our building is completely gone.”
Entwistle says it’s not a just a building, this was a place she worked as a waitress with those she calls family.
“When you drive past it it would definitely be an empty spot, not only in the parking lot but in a lot of our hearts. This is where a lot of our relationships started,” said Entwistle.
Fire officials tell ten your side once a cause is determined, the building will be torn down due to safety reasons.
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WAVY’s Kiahnna Patterson reports parts of the roof were falling around 4 a.m., with flames completely engulfing the building. A fire department spokesman said this made it difficult for firefighters to put the flames out.
“It is a challenging fire, because as the building starts to collapse and members start to come down, it creates some void spaces inside. And that’s where that fire hides,” said Lt. Tony Barakat.
Taylor Road was closed around the scene for several hours.
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None of the restaurant’s workers were injured, as the building closed at 1:30 a.m. Officials deemed the restaurant a total loss.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.