Reporter: Melinda Zosh
Hurt, VA - A fire has completely ruined one medical practice. Firefighters responded to the call around 1:20 p.m. Saturday on Pocket Road.
When crews arrived, the Staunton River Family Physicians building was already engulfed in flames. We're told two people were inside at the time, a doctor and a custodian.
Crews were on the scene battling the flames until about 10 p.m. Saturday night. Four firefighters were fighting the flames from the inside out. Fifteen minutes later, the roof started to give in.
"We knew that if this building ever caught on fire and the fire was in the atticit was probably gonna end this way," said Brian Dudley, Chief of Hurt Vol. Fire Dept.
That's because the building's made of lightweight wood with no sprinkler system inside. So once the fire started, there was no stopping it.
"They weren't able to make any headway as the fire continued to grow stronger," said Dudley.
Fire officials say lighning or bad electrical wiring might have sparked it. But the fire is still under investigation.
"I'm just as sorry as I can be to see this happen here today," said Lillian Gillespie, Mayor of Hurt.
The Central Virginia Family Physicians Center has been a community staple since the '90s. It was one of former mayor Pete Daniel's passions: to have a health facility right in the heart of Hurt.
"And he worked extremely hard to put this building here and we hate to see it go like this," said Dudley.
By mid-afternoon, the fire completely consumed the building. Fire officials say it was a total loss, and more than 16,000 paper records, including many patient files, also went up in flames.
"We had just switched to Electronic Health Records so most of those have been saved on an EHR," said Dr. Robert Elliott.
Dr. Elliott would have celebrated his 17th anniversary at the practice next month. Now, he's just worried that his patients have nowhere to go tomorrow.
"They always see me, one doctor or the other will always see me," said patient Teresa Graves. "And I come over here they give me something that makes me instantly feel better."
But For now, the practice's 16 employees can only wait.
"It really is a family that works here and takes care of the patients and we see the patients mainly as our family, too," said Dr. Elliott.
And they'll have to pick up the pieces somewhere else for the time being.
"We're just hoping to salvage what we can and move on, try to rebuild," said Dr. Elliott.