Zips survives fire, reopening date unknown

Zips is seen on Sunday after the fire
Zips, seen here on Sunday, plans to reopen.

Zips Dry Cleaners on North Kings Highway managed to survive the massive South Alex fire with only minor damage, according to an email sent by management to customers on Monday.

The one-story Zips building sustained minor exterior damage, with flooding and smoke damage inside the building, the email said. The building, constructed in 1955 out of block and bricks, is positioned right up against one of the five South Alex structures that burned and collapsed. Another 14 townhouses under construction to the rear of the property also burned to the ground.

The stretch of North Kings Highway in front of Zips remained closed as of Monday. The email said Zips was also still without power as of Sunday evening.

“We are working with our insurance company to process all of the smoke affected items with a fire restoration cleaning company,” the email from Zips Alexandria said. “This may take a couple of weeks.”

The entire under-construction South Alex development was destroyed in Saturday’s four-alarm fire. While the origin and cause of the fire has yet to be determined, early pictures from the scene show flames on the fifth floor of the structure next to Zips. The entire structure eventually collapsed, but did not land on Zips.

Zips was the only holdover on the block from the pre-South Alex era. It had bordered another small commercial building and sat in front of the Penn Daw Shopping Center. Everything on the block but Zips was demolished in 2016 and 2017 prior to the start of construction on South Alex in late 2018.

The full Zips Alexandria email to customers:

We would like to thank all of our customers for your well wishes, thoughts and prayers. ZIPS Alexandria did experience some minor exterior damage but is far from destroyed. Besides minor flooding, no damage occurred in the interior except for smoke odor.

As of Sunday night, we do not have power and our entrance on N Kings Hwy is closed to traffic.

We are working with our insurance company to process all of the smoke affected items with a fire restoration cleaning company. This may take a couple of weeks.

We do not yet know when we will be able to reopen. However, we promise we are doing the best we can to open as quickly as possible while making sure we have a safe and clean environment for everyone.

Thank you for your continued patience and we will update you with more information as soon as it becomes available.


  1. Lisa
  2. John Harris