UPDATE: The Virginia Beach Fire Department has confirmed that the fire at Jungle Golf at the Oceanfront has been ruled accidental.
Virginia Beach, Va. (WTKR) – The owner of Jungle Golf at the Oceanfront, damaged by an early-morning fire Thursday, is vowing to rebuild.
Preston Midgett says he was alerted to the fire by friends and by the time he arrived at the miniature golf-course at the intersection of Pacific Avenue and 22nd Street, firefighters were already hard at work putting out the flames.
“It was burning up. I never saw flames but I saw a lot of smoke. You can see the smoke came outside the building,” Midgett told NewsChannel 3’s Todd Corillo.
It took about a dozen Virginia Beach firefighters nearly an hour to put out the flames. A portion of Pacific Avenue was shut-down while crews worked.
While fire officials are still investigating the cause of the fire, Midgett says he doesn’t believe at this point there was anything suspicious about it.
“They’re still in their investigation but it doesn’t look like someone broke in. It doesn’t look like there was a homeless issue. We just don’t know,” Midgett explained.
The fire mostly damaged a building that houses the arcade, a snack bar and an apartment that’s been converted into office space. It appears the miniature golf course itself was mostly spared.
Midgett said he has fielded phone calls and text messages all day Thursday from folks all around the country asking about the damage.
The property has been in the Midgett family for several generations and is considered a landmark by many who live and visit the Oceanfront.
“My grandparents used to live here where the golf course is. They bought the house in 1940. We built the golf course in 1969 and opened in 1970,” Midgett said.
While the fire was not how the Midgett family wanted to start 2014, they are vowing to rebuild and reopen.
“Maybe not tomorrow – but soon,” Midgett said with a laugh.