3-alarm fire damages Alexandria restaurant on first day of grand reopening

- On what was supposed to be the grand reopening for a popular sandwich shop instead turned into a tragedy as a fire broke out on the roof of Al's Steak House hours into its first day under new management.

Last August, John Severson, the owner of Al’s Steak House for almost 50 years, passed away from lung cancer. The restaurant closed back in January after new owners took over and began renovations for the business located in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria.

But on the day of its reopening, at around 4 p.m. Wednesday, firefighters responded to a three-alarm blaze at the restaurant. All of the customers inside were evacuated and no one was hurt.

The building sustained damage and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Alexandria Fire Chief Robert Duve said he had to rotate in dozens of firefighters because it was so hot outside and became too dangerous for firefighters to be indoor too long.

Locals said that Al's Steak House is famous for their cheesesteaks and Severson was known in Del Ray as the "Steak King." He prided on never changing anything in the restaurant or on the menu since him and his wife bought the place in 1966.

It is unknown how much damage the restaurant incurred or when it will reopen.

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