RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Weezie’s Kitchen, a restaurant in Carytown, will be closed “until further notice” due to a fire that was allegedly sparked by a cigarette. The owner spoke with 8News Tuesday about how the blaze has impacted their staff and business.
The fire reportedly spread from the restaurant’s dumpster to its walk-in cooler, which was reportedly worth at least $20,000.
“The neighborhood embraced us and just took us as their own,” said Todd Gelsomino, the owner of Weezie’s Kitchen.
For 12 years, Gelsomino and Weezie’s Kitchen have called Carytown home.
“We’ve been really fortunate to be in a really great spot,” he told 8News.
Gelsomino said he was preparing for a busy Labor Day weekend but instead received a call early Sunday morning informing him that the refrigeration system behind Weezie’s had caught fire. The news was shared on Weezie’s Kitchen’s Facebook page:
“Met the fire department here and just watched them kind of ripping the place apart a little bit and it was just a devastating way to wake up,” Gelsomino recalled.
Surveillance video shows flames growing, destroying everything in its path. Gelsomino said the fire burned for about an hour. Melted racks and charred equipment now sit behind the restaurant.
“All my stuff is just sitting out here in the alley destroyed,” he said, “the back deck…was just I mean just trashed back here.”
Traces of smoke spread up the side of a brick wall. The fire not only ruined tons of equipment but also has forced it to shut down.
“Trying to figure out where to start,” Gelsomino said. “It’s my whole revenue stream. This is what I do. It’s terrible.”
As fire investigators work to determine a cause, Gelsomino is working on a game plan to reopen Weezie’s doors.
“Lot of people have reached out to me,” he said. “It’s been very nice.”
The restaurant will stay closed until at least through the rest of the week. The Richmond Fire Department are still working to find a cause.