VINTON, Va. (WFXR) — Motorists should expect some delays in downtown Vinton this week as crews work to demolish the rest of the D.R. Music building that went up in flames earlier this month, leaving it a total loss.
The Roanoke County Fire and Rescue Department says the blaze — which started shortly before 2 a.m. on July 2 at the intersection of E. Lee Avenue and S. Pollard Street — resulted in an estimated $1.5 million in damages to 101 E. Lee Avenue, which houses D.R. Music, as well as 103 E. Lee Avenue, 107 E. Lee Avenue, and 206 and 208 S. Pollard Street. In addition, the fire displaced eight adults from four apartments and killed three cats.
Town officials say the northbound lane of South Pollard Street will be closed between Jackson Avenue and Lee Avenue and the eastbound lane of East Lee Avenue will be closed from South Pollard Street to South Maple Street through Wednesday, July 27.
“As the roads are closed right now, it’s an inconvenience because, like I said, there is 6,000 cars that come through this intersection, so to close two lanes of traffic coming through here is probably a big deal for the next three days,” Bo Herndon, the public works director for the Town of Vinton, told WFXR News.
The executive director of the Vinton Area Chamber of Commerce, Angie Chewning, says hopefully the torn-down section can be rebuilt into something residents can enjoy.
“We’re looking forward to some new down there, newness, and some rebuilt hope,” said Chewning. “There’s been so much sadness in the last few weeks since this has all happened.”
Jamie McCarthy co-owns the Dogwood Restaurant across the street from the scene of the fire. He says business has been slower since the incident, but it’s been picking up over the last few weeks.
“Our customers seem to be understanding and are finding their way into our restaurant,” McCarthy said.
Chewning says the Edward Jones building that had apartments above it was also severely damaged in the July 2 fire. Meanwhile, a few other businesses sustained smoke and water damage.
“They’re still, as of now, going to decide on Edward Jones to see if it needs to come down, if it’s structurally sound, and then Anita’s and Faith, which were behind D.R. Music, just need some clean-up,” Chewning explained.
The owners of the buildings on either side of D.R. Music didn’t want to go on camera, but they did tell WFXR News they’re waiting on a structural report to determine their next steps.
As for the owners of D.R. Music, they haven’t released anything about plans to return.
If you do plan on traveling through downtown Vinton amid this week’s lane closures, Chewning says some of the busiest times for traffic are in the morning and afternoon.