Popular bakery up and running after fire

Firefighters gathered to put out a fire at Nicosia Bakery, a long established business at 779-81 Burke Avenue, in the early morning on Wednesday, May 21. The bakery was up and running again in less than a day. - Photo by Kevin Heckman

A popular local bakery, which supplies Italian and French bread to supermarkets and delis all over the area, is back up and running after a fire threatened the business.

It apparently took less than one day for Nicosia’s bakery, located at 779-781 Burke Avenue, to be back to supplying the area with bread that is the long established business’ claim to fame. 

At 1:31 a.m. on Wednesday, May 21, a stubborn, two-alarm fire tore through the bakery’s basement, destroying much of the ingredients that go into making their tasty bread.

Of serious initial concern to firefighters was the presence of a 60,000-pound flour silo located in the bakery’s basement. Fire commanders were concerned about the possibility of an explosion due to the proximity of the silo to the fire.

Specially trained hazardous materials firefighters were called to the scene to provide more technical assistance to first responders

The cause of the fire is listed as the careless discard of smoking materials.

“We believe cigarettes started the fire,” said an FDNY spokesman.

The fire was primarily contained to the basement area of the bakery, with some minor damage to the main floor. Firefighters had difficulty putting out the fire due to the presence of a very large number of bakery boxes and bread bags in the cellar area.

The fire was finally brought under control at 4:09 a.m.

Businesses, which buy Nicosia bread to resell to their customers, said the bakery handled the fire well.

“They had bread here later that day,” said Kieran Quinn, of Met Foods at 2504 Eastchester Road. “There was only one day [when there was any kind of break in service.] They are back, and we are thankful.”

Nicosia was established in the Burke Avenue area in 1925 as a local bread shop catering to area residents. Their business now encompasses deliveries all over the Bronx, and they appear to have weathered the storm.

“Nicosia has been doing all right, and they seem to be getting the bread out,” commented Michael Goodrich, of Cuomo’s Deli at 2143 Williamsbridge Road.  “It looks like they are handling [the fire].”

Many in the community commented on Nicosia’s longevity, and felt that this may be one of the reasons for the quick turnaround after disaster struck.

“They have been established in this area for many years,” noted an employee of Sal and Dom’s Bakery, a pastry shop at 1108  Allerton Avenue, who wished to be identified as Millie.

Nicosia’s Bakery declined to comment on the fire, but nevertheless, they are back in business and taking orders.

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