Original Totonno's Goes Up in Flames

The FDNY is still not sure what sparked a blaze that ripped through the landmark Totonno's pizzeria in Coney Island.  It took firefighters nearly two hours to put out the fire.

"I don't know how it started we're all trying to figure that out," said waitress Jami Heirmerle.

Heirmerle and other staffers were called in around 9 a.m. to help clean up the charred mess.

From the looks of the damage the restaurant located on Neptune Avenue between West 15th and 16th street will not re-open anytime soon.

Ramon Centeno works at a nearby auto-glass shop and says he loved the restaurants "nice thin slices."  He says he ate there nearly every day for 17 years.

"That's a big tragedy -- one of the best pizzerias ever," said Centeno.

Lifelong customer Paula Ali walked over to the pizzeria this morning to see what happened.  She wondered if the fire was an accident or intentionally started.

"It"s a landmark," Al saidi.

The restaurant opened in 1924 by Anthony "Totonno" Pero and remains family owned and operated.  The owners say they import the tomatoes and cheese from Italy, cooking the pizzas in coal-fired brick ovens.

The restaurant is a source of income and comfort for many in Coney Island.

"It means a lot.  Number one it's my job and it's been around since before I was born since I was little," said Heirmerle.  "It's a big loss but we'll fix it up." 

Totonno's has two locations in Manhattan and one in Yonkers

For more information about the pizzeria click on the link below:

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