Community reflects after Tappahannock fire destroys multiple buildings

Published: Jul. 17, 2022 at 6:53 PM EDT
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TAPPAHANNOCK, Va. (WWBT) - The town of Tappahannock is still grappling with the loss of nearly an entire street of buildings and businesses after a massive fire broke out in the downtown area on Friday.

Lots of people came out to downtown Tappahannock on Sunday to pay their respects after many historic buildings were burned to the ground.

All that stands among the pile of rubble is a giant American flag hoisted in the air by a Tappahannock Essex fire truck. People are still trying to process what happened.

Jennifer and Gregg Huff own the nearby Essex Inn which is only about a block away from where the fire happened. They were terrified their bed and breakfast would be among the burned buildings.

“Had the wind changed directions it would have caught the buildings on fire here. Our building is over 170 years old and it’s old wood,” said Greg Huff.

The couple moved quickly to get guests out of the building when the flames continued to spread.

“I woke up people that were working second shift to leave and we have four dogs and one can’t really walk so we put her in a wagon and we went down to a neighbor’s house,” explained Jennifer Huff.

While the Huffs are thankful their inn was spared from the inferno, they’re standing with their community in grieving the loss of so many businesses on Prince Street.

“It’s very raw for a lot of people because not everybody realizes that a small town ... that was the town, and people have got a very personal attachment to the town because everybody here knows everybody,” Greg Huff stated.

Both Jennifer and Greg Huff say the town is already brainstorming ways to hold fundraisers and further help those directly impacted by the fire.

There is currently a GoFundMe link to help with some of those business owners and the rebuild.

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