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Flushing aids gutted stores

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Flushing community leaders launched an effort to help the owners of businesses that were destroyed along Roosevelt Avenue by a fast moving fire last week.

Authorities said a pair of two−story buildings, 136−13 and 136−15 Roosevelt Ave., underwent emergency demolitions Oct. 29 after they were gutted by a fast−moving fire, which left them uninhabitable.

More than a half−dozen businesses were destroyed or sustained serious fire and water damage as a result of the fire, which started shortly after 2:30 a.m. Oct. 29.

Two salons, a psychic reader’s office, a Payless Shoe Source, a Taco Bell, a Pizza Hut and an apartment were destroyed in the blaze. The fire also caused problems at the nearby No. 7 subway station for most of the day, although the station sustained no serious damage.

Fire officials said the cause of the fire was still under investigation Tuesday.

City Councilman John Liu (D−Flushing) joined Flushing business leaders last Thursday in pledging their support for the business owners, many of whom lost everything in the blaze.

“Fortunately, no one was hurt as a result of this devastating fire. However, this is a total loss to so many people who have worked hard for their small businesses and we will do everything possible to help them get back on their feet,” Liu said.

Three firefighters sustained minor injuries during the two−alarm fire, which took more than 100 firefighters several hours to completely put out.

Flushing Business Improvement District Executive Director Mabel Law said a meeting was being set up between the business owners and the city Department of Small Business Services, which hopes to find them new locations as soon as possible.

“Our immediate priority is to work with SBS and their Emergency Response Unit to reach out to all the businesses affected and to expedite their recovery,” Law said. “We want to ensure our businesses will obtain all the information and assistance required to regain their vitality.”

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e−mail at Sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, ext. 138.

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