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So. Blvd. fire guts 7 stores

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A devastating fire destroyed five stores, with damage to an additional two, along Southern Boulevard in Longwood.

On Wednesday, October 28, a fire was reported to 911 at 9:31 p.m. at Man-Fix, located 978 Southern Blvd., a popular men’s clothing store.

According to Fire Department of New York records the fire spread across a one-story row of non-fireproof commercial buildings. Stores affected included Rincon Music, Apollo Jewelry, Ponce De Leon Federal Bank, Man-Fix, Buster Brown Shoe Store, and McDonalds. A nearby pharmacy also retained water damage.

FDNY was on scene by 9:34 p.m. and the four-alarm blaze was under control at 12:10 a.m. A total of 170 firefighters, 40 units, were on scene to help douse the blazing flames.

Firefighters sustained 6 minor injuries. A 93-year-old male civilian and a female civilian also sustained minor injuries due to smoke inhalation. Both were rushed to Lincoln Hospital.

For safety purposes a building adjacent to the fire, 968 Southern Blvd. had to be evacuated, but residents were allowed to return to their homes in the morning.

“The fire was mainly fought as an exterior operation, using four tower ladders,” noted an FDNY spokesperson. “This was due to heavy fire throughout the several buildings and because there was not believed to be anyone inside.”

According to Medina Sadiq, executive director for the Southern Boulevard Business Improvement District, this may have a devastating affect on the BID for the upcoming holiday season.

“The holiday season is coming and a fire is always depressing, it’s going to be horrible on us,” said Sadiq. “Everything is being demolished next week, so when you have big empty lot it’s just not attractive.

Medina is confident the restoration of the property will go as quickly as possible and explained that many of the stores have already expressed an interest in returning.

In the meantime, the business owners will be meeting next week with various agencies to receive assistance and discuss their options.

“Anything the businesses need the BID will be there to direct them to the right resources and point them in the right direction,” said Sadiq.

“I think the reconstruction is going to be as fast as humanly possible, and one of the things people should know is the bank will be placing a mobile unit on that block for customers.”

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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CNG: Community Newspaper Group