Town of Bedford rallies behind business owner after fire

Bedford, Virginia – What should have been a normal day for Helen Walters turned into a day full of emotion and heartbreak.

Walters is the owner of Sister to Sister Custom Catering and Café. Her business, along with Piece of Mind Civil Engineering, caught fire Friday morning.

“The overwhelming feeling of the tragedy that happened because of what you did, what you loved, what you built from scratch…that’s what it felt like. It was like someone died,” Walters said. .

No one was in the building when the fire started as the shops are not open on Fridays. Her neighbor in Walters told her that her building was on fire shortly after firefighters arrived and she arrived at the scene.

“I’m just shocked. I really don’t have the words to describe it. I’m just shocked. I really can’t believe it…just shocked,” Walters said.

The Bedford Fire Department responded to three fire calls throughout Friday. One downtown he was second. One of his crew members saw flames and smoke coming from the building while returning to the station from the initial fire.

Bedford Fire Chief Todd Stone said the first crew was able to punch a hole in the roof of the building and let the smoke out.

Bailey Burns worked nearby and saw smoke filling the streets of downtown Bedford.

“At one point there was a lot of smoke. The whole parking lot was covered and you couldn’t see anything, but through the window you could see it coming in from the alley. It was really bad too,” he said. Burns said.

Firefighters were able to contain the fire within 45 minutes. A firefighter said he was lucky the damage was to just one building, as many buildings in the inner city are connected by the same roof.

“They really saved the downtown district. ‘ said Chief Stone.

Departments and neighboring communities throughout the county were all responsive and helpful on the ground.

Stone said it didn’t get any better.

“Usually after every fire we can find a thing or two that could be improved. Today it went as well as it could and I don’t think it could have been any better. The whole town of Bedford I’m proud of you,” said Stone.

Bedford will still be hurt in the days and weeks to come after seeing one of its local businesses destroyed.

“It meant a lot. So the little things in life that mean a lot are people who really care about you,” Walters said.

Copyright 2023 by WSLS 10 – All rights reserved.

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