Community rallies around Chesapeake family after business broken into, intentionally set on fire

Posted at 4:31 PM, Nov 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-18 17:47:31-05

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - The majority of merchandise inside the Hickory Trading Post has been reduced to ash.

Chesapeake Fire Officials say someone broke into the business on Thursday morning, stole several items and then set the building the on fire, something William Whitehurt Jr. the business owner can't understand.

"I can't believe it. Why set it on fire? Take what you want and leave. You didn't have to set it on fire," explained Whitehurst.

While the family tries to understand the reasoning behind someone destroying the business, which is the family's only source of income, their community is taking action to help them stay on their feet.

"It was a lot of work and they finally got it open and they struggled and struggled," said Joany Protain, Whitehurt's sister-in-law and creator of the Go Fund Me page. "It's overwhelming and very emotional because I know a lot of people donating to this page have very little to give."

Hours after the fire was put out, the fundraising page went up. Turning Whitehurt's devastation into hope.

"There are a lot of good people out there," said Whitehurst. "I never thought I would see people wanting to help me like this it makes me feel real good."

Whitehurst says if the landlord will rebuild he plans to reopen Hickory Trading Post.

At this time Chesapeake Police do not have any suspects. If you have any information about the arson and larceny take action and call the crime line.

To donate to the Hickory Trading Post click here.