Hawkins fire burns pizza restaurant, vacant building

A Monday morning fire damaged a pizza restaurant and destroyed a vacant building in Hawkins.
Published: Oct. 2, 2023 at 10:35 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 2, 2023 at 6:14 PM CDT

HAWKINS, Texas (KLTV) - A Monday morning fire destroyed a pizza restaurant and a vacant building in Hawkins.

According to Wood County Fire Marshal Tully Davidson, four departments responded to a structure fire at the Venice Pizza House restaurant on Beaulah Street Monday morning. Davidson said the call came in around 5:10 a.m., and as of 10:18 a.m. responders were still cleaning up hot spots.

The fire burned Venice Pizza and a vacant building next door, and the buildings are considered a total loss, according to Davidson.

He said, “No injuries, no fatalities, nothing like that. Now, there was the manager staying in the back, but he was not injured.”

A cause has yet to be determined at this time, but the owner said the empty building next door had become a common place for homeless people to stay.

“I’m still in shock that it’s gone,” said Heather McRae, a waitress at the family-owned restaurant who has worked there for two years, along with five other employees.

“It breaks my heart, it really does. You know the customers; you know the people you work with. It’s more like family,” said McRae.

The fire caused some worry for nearby businesses, like Petal Shack located right across the restaurant.

“I didn’t know if we were going to be able to come in. The smoke was really thick this morning,” said Petal Shack Owner Samantha Shackelford. “I mean, that’s somewhere we eat every Friday. It’s definitely one of the very few places we have here, so it’s definitely going to not be okay for a lot of people.”

Responding agencies included the Hawkins, Holly Lake, Big Sandy and Ogburn Fire Departments.

As of Monday evening, the owner says they are not sure about any plans to rebuild.

A Monday morning fire damaged a pizza restaurant and destroyed a vacant building in Hawkins.