A massive fire has destroyed the Mount Vernon Antique Center at the corner of Route 1 and Mount Vernon Highway.
The fire was reported around 9:15 p.m. Monday and the first firefighters were on the scene in two minutes, according to Deputy Chief William Garrett. The blaze was already “well developed” when firefighters arrived, Garrett said, and videos taken not long after firefighters arrived show flames escaping from much of the roof of the store.
The fire was on the second floor of the two-story building when firefighters arrived, Garrett said, and it appears that the blaze started in one of the rear corners of the building. Heavy fire conditions and heat forced firefighters to withdraw from the building after initially trying to fight the fire inside.
After the withdrawal, there were various wall collapses inside the building, Garrett said.
The cause of the fire is unknown at this time. Garrett said investigators were on the scene, but that pockets of fire were still burning after 11 p.m. and firefighters were expected to be on scene through the night.
The store was closed for Christmas, according to its website, and Garrett said it appears nobody was in the building when the fire started. No injuries to firefighters were reported.
Monday night’s fire was so intense that smoke could be seen from miles away. While technically a two-alarm fire, the response from local fire departments was closer to what’s seen at a three-alarm fire, according to one firefighter at the scene. Trucks and personnel from stations in Lorton, Franconia and the city of Alexandria, among others, joined local units from Penn Daw, Mount Vernon and Woodlawn.
The nearly 16,000-square-foot building, located at 8101 Richmond Highway, was built in 1946, according to county property records. It was long home to Thieves Market.