VINTON, Va. – Vinton’s Town Manager has provided an update on the progress being made after the devastating fire downtown last summer.
On July 2 in the early morning hours, a fire engulfed a two-story music building and collapsed the roof of the Edward Jones Investment business, as we reported.
The incident dramatically affected several small business owners and operators in the area, Vinton Town Manager Richard Peters said, and the incident has forever changed the lives of those directly impacted.
“Thanks to the heroic efforts of the fire department, the fire was quickly contained from spreading to adjacent structures and throughout the greater downtown,” Peters said in his update.
[READ MORE: ‘I pretty much lost everything’: Vinton resident copes after losing his home in fire]
Since the fire, Peters said the community has been working diligently to rebuild and access the damage.
We’re told that four additional buildings were determined to be a total loss and must be torn down as a result of the fire, bringing the number of structures to be torn down to as many as seven now.
“While eight months may seem like an eternity from the casual observer, I can attest that from my perspective the owners, engineers, contractors, and other professionals involved behind the scenes have been working feverishly to move forward with a resolution and positive outcome as quickly as possible,” Peters said.
During that timeframe, Peters said the Town has been helping the owners where possible by providing resources for relocation, design services for a future rebuild, and debris disposal services.
For safety reasons, officials said they decided in December to close an additional lane on East Lee Avenue.
Peters said that the Town hopes to fully reopen the roadway once demolition efforts are completed.
While he said he couldn’t provide an exact date for the completion, he noted significant progress within the last two months.
“I believe that the expectation for demolition can be expected in a measure of a few additional weeks, rather than months,” Peters said. “In the meantime, on behalf of the Town Council and the affected property owners, I want to thank Vinton’s residents, adjacent downtown business owners, and visitors for your continued prayers and patience through the remaining stages of this endeavor. My staff and I will continue to update this message as additional timelines or information becomes available.”