Fire that destroyed Chesapeake business ruled arson

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – Firefighters raced to a local consignment store after flames damaged the business, early Thursday morning.

Investigators have determined the fire, which started around 3 a.m. at the Hickory Trading Post on South Battlefield Boulevard, was arson. Crews say the fire started somewhere in the back of the business. No injuries were reported.

The fire was out in about 40 minutes, but by that time, the flames had done some serious damage to the inside of the store.

The Chesapeake Fire Marshal’s Office is currently working to determine who started the fire.

According to Hickory Trading Post’s Facebook page, the business is a total loss from the damage.

Business owner William Whitehurst, Jr., who lives next to the business, says police woke him up around 3 a.m.

“I didn’t know ’till I walked outside,” he said. “I didn’t know what was on fire, nothing till we got outside and then I seen my store on fire.”

Whitehurst says he’s devastated, because he opened the store in April as a place to refurbish furniture and sell it. He says it hurts because someone also stole $50 from inside the business, then destroyed it.

Photos: Chesapeake business damaged by fire

“I mean I wouldn’t care if they stole my cash register. They shouldn’t burn my place down,” Whitehurst said.

Whitehurst says people have stolen items off his front porch before, but he doesn’t understand why someone would commit such a serious crime.

“If they need money that bad, why don’t they get a job and leave us people trying to start a small business? We got nothing,” he said.

Whitehurst also says he does not have insurance, which will make the holidays even harder for him and his family.

“I can’t work right now. I don’t know what I’m going to do. It’s hard to see all this work go down like this,” he said.

If you’d like to help Whitehurst, donate to their online fundraiser here.

If you have any information about this crime, you can call the Chesapeake Fire Prevention Office at 757-382-6566.