News Updates for Friday, Feb. 10: Why was Pizza Hut evacuated?

Published 4:27 am Friday, February 10, 2023

FARMVILLE – An early afternoon gas leak on Thursday caused the Farmville Pizza Hut location to temporarily close. 

At 11:10 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 9, the Farmville Fire Department and Hampden Sydney Volunteer Fire Department answered a call to Pizza Hut regarding a gas leak. 

The call was due to an odor detected in the kitchen of the Pizza Hut at 915 S. Main St., Farmville. Assuming the odor was coming from a gas leak, the restaurant called the fire department and evacuated the building. Once at the scene, the fire departments were able to stop the leak and ventilate the fumes. 

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“Fortunately it wasn’t anything major,” said Farmville Fire Chief Daniel Clark. “We were able to isolate the gas leak and ventilate the business to get the fumes out.”

According to Clark, everything was deemed safe when they were able to leave the scene. Unfortunately, the Pizza Hut location will still remain closed at this time. Before reopening, a technician must come in to check to make sure all the appliances are running safely. This is expected to take place in the next day or so. Once the technician confirmed that there are no signs of a potential leak returning the restaurant will reopen to continue serving customers.

Where is Farmville council headed?

When Farmville Mayor Brian Vincent was elected in November, he outlined several goals. One of those was for the entire council to better understand each other’s objectives and figure out how to make them work. 

“I don’t want to come out first and say this is what I want to do, because you don’t get anything done that way,” Vincent said at the time to The Herald. “Too much of national and state politics involves people saying ‘I want to do this’ or ‘I want to do that’, saying whatever they can to make headlines. To move forward, we need to all work together.”

That’s what’s taking place today. The council will hold a retreat, beginning at noon, in the Emergency Operations Center on the second floor of the Farmville Town Hall at 116 North Main Street. The retreat will run from noon to 5 p.m. today and then pick back up tomorrow, running from 8 a.m. to noon.

PUD discussion rescheduled for this Monday

Now we’ve talked for a bit about the planned unit development (PUD) proposal and what it would change about Farmville’s ordinances. On Monday, it’ll be your turn to ask questions. Originally scheduled for March, the town has moved up their community information session to Monday, Feb. 13.

Beginning at 6 p.m., the meeting will take place at the Moton Museum. The argument about PUDs stems from an issue that the Farmville staff sees. Speaking to the planning commission earlier this month, Farmville’s Director of Community Development Lee Pambid said under current laws, everything has to be almost strictly by the book. There are no exceptions. And that’s created problems as developers look at places to build in town. 

“We’ve got developers taking a look at Farmville and saying they’ve got a proposal or a certain housing product they want to bring, but they can’t because of the current ordinance,” Pambid said. 

He argued that the current rules almost demand a suburban style of development, which he felt was not appropriate for a small town like Farmville. That translates into large lots with larger single family homes. But when you’re trying to recruit new teachers, new college graduates and other younger residents, they often can’t afford a property like that. And at the same time, they don’t always want to live in apartments. They want other alternatives. 

Hampden-Sydney competes at ODAC meet

We finish today with a note about Hampden-Sydney College, as the swim team is currently competing in the 2023 Old Dominion Athletic Conference Swimming Championships. That’s being held at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, North Carolina.

After Thursday’s first day of competition, the Tigers stand sixth among eight teams with 76 points. By comparison, Washington and Lee University lead the way right now with 336 points.

The best finish of the night went to Braxton Psuik, Matt Brooks, Andrew Rehal and Cody Carnes. The quartet placed sixth in the 200 Yard Freestyle Relay, with a total time of 1:29:30.  The group of Quinn Hardimon, Cole Renfrow, Charles Adams and Braxton Psuik also finished in the Top 10 for their event, grabbing seventh place in the 400 Yard Medley Relay with a time of 3:51.82.

The ODAC Championships continue today with prelims at 10 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m., as well as Saturday, with prelims at 10 a.m. and the finals at 5 p.m. in Greensboro.

Reporter Rachel Austin contributed to this report.