RICHMOND, Va. -- A Richmond couple got a rude awakening when the ice cream shop below their Carytown apartment went up in flames early Thursday morning.
“I knew when we saw the smoke and he said, 'I’m checking next door.' My job is to grab the pets and get out,” Kimberly Schall-Vess said. “It was scary.”
The couple spent the early morning hours of Thanksgiving wondering if they would lose all of their belongings.
“We are extremely lucky,” Todd Schall-Vess said. “The smoke was coming up through the floor. I called 911.”
Fire broke out one floor below inside Bev’s Homemade Ice Cream about midnight. The long-time Carytown eatery sustained heavy smoke and water damage.
One step inside Todd and Kimberly’s apartment, you soon realize the pungent, lingering odor is not a turkey dinner. A green and black soot covers the couple’s kitchen.
“The wood smell is not bad. But the plastic stuff? I could do without that,” Todd said.
Professional cleaners spent their holiday working overtime inside Bev’s, but there is no word when or if the shop will re-open.
“When there is some sort of drama this is when the neighborhoods dig in and help out,” Kimberly said.
Despite Todd and Kimberly’s mad dash into the dead of night, both praise the fast acting first responders.
“The only way they could have been here faster was is they were already parked on the block,” Todd said.
Several hours after the fire was extinguished below, the resilient couple was allowed back inside.
“I will never forget Thanksgiving 2016. Now 2016 will always be the great Thanksgiving fire year,” Todd said.
When Todd and Kimberly Schall-Vess sat down for their Thanksgiving meal, they’ll be sure to count a few more blessings.
“While we’re still dealing with smoke and after effects,” Kimberly said. “We’re the lucky ones and we’re very thankful for that.”
Richmond Fire Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire.