Shops, restaurants destroyed by fire in Nassau County

FLORAL PARK, Nassau County (WABC) -- Several restaurant and shop owners are cleaning up after their businesses were destroyed by a fire Sunday morning.

The fire broke out on Covert Avenue around 8 a.m.

The fire destroyed at least five businesses and damaged four others.

A man who happened to be walking by on Sunday morning saw the fire and ran into the deli across the street, where Michelle Moreno works.

"I know every single person, help them every day, so it's kind of hard for me to see them go through this pain," said Moreno.

The fire appears to have started in the back of two businesses at the corner, right where a coffee shop was.

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Charlie Alberici and his wife own the coffee shop - it just opened two years ago.

"A lot of long hours, typically any business, a start up, takes 2-5 years to just make a profit," said Alberici.

Town of Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin said it was a heartbreaking morning after the fire:

"Truly a heartbreaking morning in Floral Park as many restaurant and shop owners along Covert Avenue found their businesses and livelihoods destroyed by a devastating fire."

He went on to say that after a trying year due to COVID-19, the town of Hempstead is ready to assist the businesses in any way possible as they rebuild.

Many of the businesses on Covert Ave. took a hit, but stayed open, feeding doctors and nurses, and were here for people to get their morning coffee. They were just getting their footing back when the fire devastated the block.

"I used to get my hair cut here, go to Capo every Friday night - it's sad to see people you know them like family, really," says Floral Park resident Doug Spring.

And like family, they vow to stick together and rebuild.

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