UPDATE: On Nov. 26, VDOT Spokesperson Dawn Eischen said, "We have determined damages to the 15,000-square-foot building, and equipment would cost approximately $2.7-2.8 million to replace. We have not yet determined what items we will replace or how we will replace them. The Virginia State Police's investigation is ongoing."
CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC)—An investigation is underway to determine the cause of a fire that occurred at the Virginia Department of Transportation's Richmond District complex late Saturday morning.
Black smoke could be seen for miles and several explosions were heard as fire ravaged the VDOT storage building on Nov. 23. The facility is located off of Jefferson Davis Highway near Colonial Heights.
"I walked outside and I noticed a bunch of smoke … heavy, black smoke comin' out of the sky," said Amber Powers, who lives nearby.
The fire nearly wiped out the storage facility, but it's what came next that really got neighbors nervous.
"All of a sudden there was a few explosions-type deals, and I kind of freaked out a little bit," said Sara Dickerson, who lives in the area.
"Some louder than others, but there was one or two that were, I would call, extremely loud," a bystander said.
It is unclear what caused those explosions after the fire broke out; the building may have contained some gasoline.
"We had some archive—off-site storage, archiving, paperwork. And also some vehicles," said Dawn Eishcen, a VDOT spokesperson.
Fortunately, no one was injured in the fire and it does not appear that any nearby equipment was damaged.
Fire crews from Chesterfield County spent the day putting out hot spots.
Nearby residents feared the blaze would spread.
"It was pretty scary, ‘cause I do live right down the street," Dickerson said.
"You never know. It might spread and burn the houses down," said neighbor William James.
The incident is still under investigation. VDOT officials say they will assess the damage and want the public to know that the fire shouldn't set back department plans to maintain roads and respond to winter weather.
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