A five-alarm fire destroyed four businesses on Long Island just as they had reopened following the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The raging fire began in Nassau County around 3:55 p.m., Thursday, June 25, at 15 Cutter Mill Road, in Great Neck, said Great Neck Fire Chief Josh Charry.
According to the chief, firefighters arrived on the scene about 4:07 p.m., after receiving a call for a brush fire. Once on the scene, they found a pile of debris on fire behind one of the businesses located in the buildings on Cutter Mill Road.
The fire moved quickly to several storage sheds, and into the business at 15 Cutter Mill, home to Cutter Mill Mailroom, and began to rapidly spread throughout the building, the chief said.
Firefighters were hampered in their effort by a "cockloft" located inside the building that left open space in the ceiling area and allowed the fire to travel into the other businesses, and the roof, Charry said.
After battling the fire for several hours, the department was able to extinguish the blaze that destroyed all four businesses that included the mailroom, a restaurant named Laverne, a ballet school, and one other, the chief said.
"It's tough to lose four businesses in town when they were just reopening following the pandemic," Charry said.
During the fire, a few nearby apartments were evacuated by firefighters due to the smoke conditions, the chief said.
The fire was out by 9 p.m., with crews remaining on the scene until 10:20 p.m.
The fire is currently listed as accidental, but the cause of the fire is still under investigation, the chief said.
Seven firefighters were injured on the scene, with three being transported to an area hospital for treatment. They were later released, Charry said.
Great Neck was assisted by numerous area fire department on the scene.
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