$1 Million Loan Program Set Up After Queens Fire Destroys More Than 30 Small Businesses

NBC Universal, Inc.

Two organizations are teaming up to help some Queens small businesses get back on their feet after they were left gutted by a devastating fire.

A $1 million loan fund program is being offered to help the businesses that were destroyed in the March 17 fire, which tore through a shopping center along Main Street in Flushing starting around 6:30 a.m. It quickly intensified to a five-alarm blaze, drawing 200 firefighters to the scene, and burned at ground level for five hours.

Three people were injured in the blaze, which broke out at a time when few people would have been inside. Fire officials said there was extensive interior damage, and that the ceiling and roof had collapsed as a result. Those who lived nearby were advised to close their windows to avoid the billowing black smoke.

On Tuesday, the groups Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) and Renaissance Economic Development Corporation (REDC) announced they were launching the loan fund to help the businesses impacted. Business owners have until Sept. 30 to apply for the loan, details of which are available here.

An investigation into what sparked the fire is ongoing.

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