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Virginia bar owner plans to 'power through' after 'heart-wrenching' roof collapse

'From day one, everybody has been out to support us and we can't thank them enough'
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Posted at 12:20 PM, Oct 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-17 12:20:12-04

SANDSTON, Va. -- While the owners of a Sandston bar whose roof collapsed Thursday afternoon are still coming to grips with what happened, they have turned the loss into a way to give back to the community.

Hannah Brown and her fiance, Matt Dougherty, said they are still "in shock" by what happened at Fat Boy's Bar and Grill while eight people were inside.

"I got a call from my fiance saying, ‘Hey, you need to post on Facebook the roof collapsed,’" Brown recalled. “He said, ‘Yeah, it just literally fell. Everyone's fine.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, thank God.’"

Matt and Hannah Brown

Brown said parts of the roof fell onto several cars at the auto shop next door, but no one outside or inside was hurt.

“Thankfully nothing came inside the building, it all kind of fell outward,” Dougherty explained.

The couple said the restaurant, which has been open for eight months, will be closed while engineers figure out what caused the collapse and while repairs are made.

"It's definitely a heart-wrenching thing especially when you do this seven days a week -- and you wake up and say, ‘I don't know what to do today,’” Brown said fighting back tears.

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While they work to begin creating a new normal, the couple is giving back to the community.

“We have a bunch of food, how can we help?” Dougherty explained. “We called up a couple food banks and we put up a post out… At the end of the day it's going to go to waste."

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While the couple figures out what's next, they know the support from the community.

In fact, Brown said several GoFundMe accounts have been established to help the family. So far more than $1,100 has been raised.

The couple plans to build back Fat Boy's Bar and Grill stronger and better, but they have no idea when the restaurant will reopen since they will be “rebuilding a building that's been around for a long time."

"From day one, everybody has been out to support us and we can't thank them enough,” Dougherty said. “They've helped us get this far, we're going to power through."