Supply store destroyed by fire

Published 10:29 am Tuesday, December 24, 2019

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An iconic building in the Town of Keysville is no more.

Whites Building Supply was destroyed by fire in the early morning hours of Thursday, Dec. 12.

According to Keysville Volunteer Fire Department Chief Lynn Duffey, 11 departments responded to the blaze that was fully involved when firefighters arrived on scene around 4 a.m.

Duffey said the fire is believed to have started in the back right portion of the building.

“We were on the scene for eight hours and used over 200,000 gallons of water,” said Duffey.

So much water was used, in fact, that the Town of Keysville was asking its residents to conserve as much water as possible during the day on Thursday.

According to both Duffey and the business co-owner, Beth Shook, the cause of the blaze is under investigation by the Virginia State Police. “The damage is so extensive that most likely, the cause will be undetermined; I was told by the investigator,” Shook explained.

Shook purchased the business with co-owner Don Nelson in November 2017. “We had just celebrated our second anniversary in business,” said Shook. “The fire was scary, and I just want to thank everyone for their support. The community support has been overweening and a special thanks to the fire departments too. These folks are volunteers, and many of them left the scene to go to their regular jobs.”

Though the building may be gone, Shook says that she and Nelson “absolutely plan to rebuild.”

Despite the fact of last week’s fire, White’s Building Supply is still in operation but not at full capacity.

According to Shook, her home is now the makeshift office, but the business’ lumber yard is still open and filling orders. In the coming weeks, the owners say they plan to open a small store inside one of the warehouses inside the lumber yard.

“For a bad situation, everything went good,” said Duffey, who noted he is very appreciative of all the departments and the Town of Keysville for all the help that was provided. “We could not have asked for better,” he said. “The Town of Keysville was on point with providing all the water we needed.”