Community shows support after fire at beloved Peter Pan Diner in Bay Shore

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, July 2, 2024
Community shows support after fire at beloved Bay Shore diner
Janice Yu reports the latest on the fire.

BAY SHORE, New York (WABC) -- After a diner with decades of history went up in flames in Suffolk County, there is an outpouring of support for the owner.

Video captured heavy flames and thick smoke coming from the roof of the Peter Pan Diner on Sunrise Highway in Bay Shore around 2 a.m. Tuesday.

The diner dates back to 1955 and could take months to reopen. Owner Peter Lentzeres said they haven't closed for a day since the 1950s.

"My manager, Sylvania, who's a terrific manager, called me, my wife was screaming on the phone today, the diner's on fire and my wife's trying to wake me up, I thought I was dreaming -- a nightmare, you know?" Lentzeres said.

First responding firefighters were delayed because the Suffolk County Water Authority was working on a hydrant right across the street from a prior water main break.

Firefighters had to find a hydrant three blocks away to get the first water on the fire.

One firefighter was taken to South Shore University Hospital with a minor injury to their hand.

The diner was closed at the time of the fire, which appears to have started in the kitchen. Firefighters had to force entry.

As word spread throughout the community, love started pouring in for the family-run diner.

A banner went up across from the restaurant and customers like Rich Klein showed up to offer their support.

"Everybody's just so nice here," Klein said. "They treat you like family. And I eat here four or five times a week."

Klein has been coming to the diner since he was 5 years old. He says the outpouring of support is a testament to just how much Lentzeres and his brother have done for Bay Shore.

"They give back to everybody, veterans, sporting people, the kids, they're great, so we pray that they get to open soon," Klein said.

Lentzeres says they're in the process of assessing all of the damage but hope to reopen in time to celebrate the diner's 70th year.

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