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Fire in part of Virginia town causes estimated $2M in damage

July 18, 2022 GMT

TAPPAHANNOCK, Va. (AP) — A fire that spread quickly through the downtown area of a Virginia town damaged or destroyed part of a historic district, impacted businesses and displaced at least one family, officials said.

The fire swept through downtown buildings in Tappahannock on Friday, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. Several firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion in the fire that began before noon in the back of a furniture store on Prince Street, a block south of the Downing Bridge that spans the Rappahannock River.

Officials also said other nearby buildings in the town’s historic area, including several vacant homes, were damaged or destroyed, affecting an art gallery, real estate office, beauty parlor and café, as well as apartments above the businesses.

Tappahannock Essex Fire Chief Paul Richardson estimated damage at close to $2 million, although more time will be needed to fully assess the situation. It’s not known how the fire started.

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To fight the fire, firefighters at one point had to draw water from the nearby Rappahannock River when the town’s water supply wasn’t enough, Richardson said.

Firefighters came from a dozen or more other jurisdictions to assist over the weekend, he said.

Tappahannock is approximately 45 miles (72 km) northeast of Richmond.