A stove fire is to blame for the massive blaze that tore through a row of restaurants in Flushing, Queens, Wednesday, officials say.
Fifteen businesses were destroyed in the accidental fire, which started on the first floor of 135-42 Roosevelt Ave., the FDNY said. It took more than 160 firefighters to knocks out the blaze, and three of them sustained minor injuries.
The small family-owned businesses that line Roosevelt Avenue are mainly run by Chinese immigrants. The fire was especially devastating as it comes just before the Chinese New Year, a busy time for many of the stores.
"They're trying to survive right now and trying to put whatever they can and save whatever they can from the stores and move forward, and it's absolutely heartbreaking to see," said Assemblyman Ron Kim.
The New York City Department of Small Business Services says it will assist the business owners impacted by the fire, including connecting them to pro bono legal assistance and affordable loans, expediting replacecment of lost or damaged licenses and permits, and troubleshooting insurance claims.
The densely packed area of Roosevelt Avenue and Main Street is a busy commercial area and transit hub serving the 7 subway line and multiple MTA bus routes.