Fire destroys building in Bronx

March 22, 2009 3:40:30 PM PDT
An early morning fire Sunday destroyed a number of businesses in the Bronx.The fire destroyed close to a dozen businesses at Tremont Avenue and Westchester Avenue in the Westchester Square section.

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"They told me kiss your store goodbye," owner Michael Andreou said. "And I was crying. I almost have heart attck."

Firefighters told Andreou to flee his coffee shop, the business he'd run for 11 years. It was his heart and his livlihood. But run he did, as the building which housed his shop, a law firm, a bar and numerous other businesses burned, with flames leaping into the air.

More than 150 firefighters fought to stop the spread and bring the fire under control. Two firefighters suffered minor sprains, but no other injuries were reported.

"Initially, there was a very large response," deputy chief Kevin Scanlon said. "Then, as we contained it, we demobilized."

Now, the investigation is on. Where precisely did the fire start? And why? That's what the fire marshal is looking into. Meantime, folks who live in the neighborhood are mourning the loss of the National Coffee Shop, the place where they congregated and regarded as part of their home.

"It will be missed," resident John Lecruise said. "It happened so fast. The whole block is gone."


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