By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A three-alarm fire ripped through a row of stores on a commercial strip of 11th Avenue in Dyker Heights, decimating the shops and injuring three firefighters Monday night, according to the Fire Department.
The burned out stores are located in a row of shops on a block on 11th Avenue between 62nd and 63rd Streets.
Seven shops – including a dry cleaner, a pharmacy, and a laundromat – were in the path of the fire, which began on late at night on June 10 and raged for nearly 90 minutes, into the early morning of June 11, before firefighters were able to bring it under control, officials said. It took more than 150 firefighters to battle the blaze, officials said.
The cause of the fire is unknown. “It’s under investigation. We’re looking at it,” FDNY spokeswoman Elisheva Zakheim told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. The fact that the fire is being investigated doesn’t necessarily mean that the blaze is suspicious, Zakheim said. “It just means we don’t know the cause and we have to find out. Things don’t just combust into a fire on their own,” she said.
The fire appeared to have started in a dry cleaner at 6222 11th Avenue and quickly spread to the adjoining stores on either side, officials said. The first call on the fire was received at 11:51 p.m. and the first Fire Department units arrived at the scene at 11:54 p.m., Zakheim said. The fire was declared under control at 1:29, she said.
The three injured firefighters were taken to Maimonides Medical Center for treatment of injuries that Fire Department officials described as minor. No residents or merchants were injured, officials said.
But the damage to the stores was incalculable, officials said. It’s not clear when, if ever, the shops will be able to reopen. On Tuesday morning, all seven stores were closed with iron roll down gates covering the storefronts. Yellow tape had been placed from the stores to the curb to prevent pedestrians from getting to close to the storefronts. The odor of the fire could be detected from a block away. The sidewalk was littered with broken glass.
“This is terrible,” said one woman who was walking across the street and stopped to take a look. “That’s my pharmacy. That’s where I go to get my medications,” she said, pointing to Scarpa Pharmacy at 6216 11 Ave., one of the now-closed shops.
“This is such a shame. These are all mom and pop shops,” Assemblyman Peter Abbate (D-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst). Abbate, whose district office is located a few blocks away on Fort Hamilton Parkway, told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that he had dispatched members of his staff to the scene to assist the merchants. “I have my staff there to see if we can help the people. Whatever services we can provide, we will. We want them to come back,” the assemblyman said.
Abbate said he would contact the Small Business Administration to see if anything could be done to help the storeowners. “It’s such a shame. Scarpa Pharmacy has been there for years,” he said.