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How customers are helping after fire destroys Brandermill shopping center

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The fire marshal is still investigating what caused a massive fire that heavily damaged a shopping center in Brandermill early Saturday morning.

Crews were called to the Wilton Square at Brandermill shopping center in the 13600 block of Genito Road for a report of a structure fire at 2:35 a.m. Saturday.

Four businesses, two of which had been there for decades, were burned completely to the ground and are a complete loss.

Wilton Square at Brandermill shopping center i

Fire at Wilton Square at Brandermill shopping center

The cause of this fire remains under investigation, but no one was hurt.

“The gas station is really right next door, and I hadn't realized how close that was," said Nancy Morin, who works across Genito Road from Wilton Square.

She feels bad for the small businesses that operated here , but is glad for the blaze happened early in the morning.

"Things can be rebuilt, but people can't, so I’m glad it was just property,” Morin said.

The damage

The damage

At least two of the four destroyed businesses have been here for multiple decades.

A customer started a crowd funding page for the China Wong restaurant, which had been in business for 30 years.

As of Sunday night, more than $450 had been raised.

"We are just regular customers of China Wong and have gotten to know this sweet family over the years," organizer Michael Campese wrote. "Their food is the best in the area and our family just really wants to help."

The damage

The damage

"I've just been very upset," said Jo-De Davis, who knows the owners of the destroyed dry cleaners shop.

The longtime customer inspected the damage Sunday from behind a chainlink fence.

"I just had tears coming out of my eyes. It’s just very sad," Davis said. " I just walked through there. My husband was going up yesterday morning to get our dry cleaning.”

Davis said small businesses are part of daily life for many in Brandermill.

It's the hard work it takes to launch one that Davis said shows a path forward.

“They'll rebuild," Davis said. "They've put a lot into this. This is their life."