Fire Reported at Valley Pool and Spa in Harrisonburg

By: Carly Stephenson Email
By: Carly Stephenson Email
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HARRISONBURG, VA HARRISONBURG, Va. -- A business in Harrisonburg has been destroyed after an early morning fire on Wednesday.

Fire crews responded to a fire at Valley Pool and Spa on Neff Avenue at 4 a.m. Wednesday morning.

No one was inside Valley Pool and Spa at the time of the fire and there are no injuries.

Fire investigators will be working Wednesday and Thursday to determine a cause.

Initially, they believe the fire started first, and then an explosion happened because of pool chemicals.

However, a fire investigator has not confirmed any theories.

Parts of Neff Avenue and surrounding roads were closed, but crews reopened Neff Avenue at 12:30 p.m..

After crews got the blaze under control, members of Harrisonburg Fire Department's HAZMAT team tested the PH levels of run-off left behind.

They were concerned about chlorine and other pool chemicals present inside the store at the time of the fire.

The Department of Environmental Quality also came by to investigate any chemicals, but nothing harmful was found.

The store had contents that include hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and chlorine.

Phyllis Rinaca has worked at the store for about 18 years.

Rinaca was planning to work today, but then she got a call.

When Rinaca got to her work place early Wednesday morning, she watched it burn down.

"My nephew works for the fire department and he called me about 4 a.m. No, I don't know what they're going to do. We have another store in Waynesboro I don't know if we'll work out of there or what we'll do," said Rinaca.

The roof collapsed and some walls are gone.

Harrisonburg Fire Chief Larry Shifflett said the fire caused more than one million dollars worth of damage.

Crews fighting the blaze had to wear masks because of pool chemicals.

After the flames died down, crews picked through debris, checking for hot spots.

The general manager of the store said they'll do their best to keep business going.

"We [have] to figure out what kind of clean up. You know the buildings a loss, we can't move back in here," said David Boylen, General Manager.

The family-owned business has two other locations in Staunton and Waynesboro.

The Harrisonburg location is the second biggest location.

Valley Pool and Spa workers said nothing has been salvaged inside the building, however two of three service vehicles on site are usable.

Because of the fire, Rinaca said she'll miss her favorite part of the job.

"Being able to meet with customers and help the people with their pools and all the friends I've got to know through the years," said Rinaca.

Owner of Valley Pool and Spa Jeff Meadows said that the landlord who owns the building has plans to rebuild.

Columbia Gas company crews were on site around 11 a.m. working to abandon the gas line that was formerly attached to the building.

Fire crews put out the last hot spots inside the building at 11:40 a.m..

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11:27 A.M.
WHSV News Staff

Carly Stephenson reports Neff Avenue is still closed for the most part. Drivers are being diverted through a strip mall in the area around the scene.

One of the deputy fire chiefs says they believe the fire started first then the explosion happened.

The owners of Valley Pool and Spa said they lease the building, but the landlord says they want to rebuild.

The business will work out of the Waynesboro location.

Stay tuned for more information.

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10:49 A.M.

Fire fighters are on the scene of a two-alarm fire at Valley Pool and Spa, located at 185 Neff Ave.

The fire was reported around 4 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

Several roads are closed in the area, including portions of Neff Ave., Evelyn Bryd Ave., and Deyerle Ave. near the sight of the fire.

Fire Chief Larry Shifflett estimated it caused at least $1 million worth of damage.

WHSV has a reporter on the scene. Stay with WHSV for updates.


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