Tragic news out of Surry, Virginia today: A devastating fire at the S. Wallace Smokehouse broke out this afternoon, ceasing operations of the legendary Edwards Virginia Ham purveyors. According to local news outlet Wavy, the fire broke out in the processing facility around 12:40 p.m. and while the plant was active at the time, nobody was harmed. All operations have ceased indefinitely, and per the Edwards Twitter, "damage is still being determined."
The ham makers have been in business for over 75 years. Family-owned and operated under the leadership of Sam Wallace Edwards III, Edwards is known for hams that have become a favorite of big-name chefs like David Chang, who serves the ham at Momofuku Ssam Bar in New York City. WTVR notes that Edwards is one of the biggest employers in Surry County.
Following this disaster, the voicemail at Edwards notes that no new orders will be accepted. Below is the statement from the Edwards website:
Due to a tragic fire, we will be closed for an undetermined amount of time.
We'd like to thank the community for supporting us and local first responders for their heroic work.
We're eternally grateful everyone here is safe.
Thank you all for your continued support and prayers. We'll provide more updates soon.
The Edwards Team
Update 1/20; 11:10 a.m.: Representatives for the smokehouse have released an official statement:
On Tuesday, January 19th, at approximately 12:30 PM, Edwards Virginia Smokehouse at 11455 Rolfe Highway in Surry, Virginia, suffered a catastrophic fire. Thanks to the tireless efforts of emergency personnel from the surrounding areas, no one was injured.
"We extend our gratitude to the community," said Sam Edwards III. "We are especially thankful for the numerous emergency response teams for their speedy and diligent work in difficult conditions."
The Edwards family will be working closely with investigators to determine the cause of the fire, which is unknown at this time. Edwards Virginia Smokehouse, along with the retail ham shops in Surry and Williamsburg, will remain closed until further notice. Updates will be posted to the Edwards Facebook page as they become available.
"We are immeasurably thankful for the outpouring of support from across the country," said Sam Edwards III. "With this support, we plan on rebuilding and continuing our family tradition."