Melrose Avenue fire under investigation, plans remain for Community Solutions Center

Feeding America Southwest Virginia says it's still committed to project

ROANOKE, Va. - The cause of a fire that damaged a Melrose Avenue building expected to bring solutions to the high-crime area is under investigation.

It happened Wednesday night at the former Ms. Choc's restaurant in Roanoke.

There's an estimated $160,000 in damage, according to Roanoke Fire-EMS estimates.

Feeding America Southwest Virginia, Goodwill Industries of the Valleys and the Roanoke Police Department teamed up to renovate the building and launch the Community Solutions Center, which will include a training kitchen to offer employment, training in food service and meals.

Feeding America said Wednesday's fire won't change their commitment to the area or the project.    

"We learned a long time ago it's not easy feeding people," said Pam Irvine. "Sometimes in life things, happen. So you strategize, you evaluate and you find a way to quickly move on. That's exactly what we're going to do."

"Our partners are still committed. The city is still committed," she said.

Firefighters spotted the fire on their way back from another call Wednesday at 9:35 p.m. It was under control by 11:24 p.m.