Fire at Island Recreational in North Massapequa extinguished

A smoky fire is burning Monday afternoon, March 31, 2014, in strip mall with a pool supply company on Hicksville Road. The Nassau County hazardous materials response team went to the scene as well as several fire departments. (Credit: News 12 Long Island)

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A swimming pool supply store was gutted and three other businesses damaged Monday when a fire raged through a North Massapequa strip mall, fire officials said.

About 100 firefighters from 13 departments were needed to extinguish the blaze, which burned for more than three hours before it was brought under control at 5:30 p.m., said North Massapequa fire Chief Robert Schmidgall.

Flames were reported about 2:30 p.m. at Island Recreational, a pool supply company on Hicksville Road, authorities said.

The shopping center, which has more than 12 storefronts, and an office building across the street were evacuated due to concerns about swimming pool chemicals burning, authorities said.

The nearby Hagedorn Little Village School was placed on lockdown as a precaution, Schmidgall said.

The fire chief said the smoke was so heavy when he first arrived that it was hard to tell where the flames were coming from.

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Another problem was the winds that spread flames, he said.

A North Massapequa firefighter was treated and released from a hospital after being hit in the head by a fire hose, the fire chief said.

By 6:30 p.m., firefighters were hosing down the hot spots.

County health officials and fire marshals tested the air for harmful chemicals and found the air safe, Schmidgall said.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation dispatched two spill response units to the scene to determine what chemicals and how much of them were in the pool store.

State officials were trying to assess any impact of water runoff from the fire, including whether chemical-tainted water was draining into the groundwater.

The heads of Island Recreational and fire marshal investigators did not immediately return calls Monday.

Joseph Pappalardo, who owns a pizzeria near the pool supply business, said his manager saw the flames and called authorities.

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The pool supply store has been there for about 25 years, Pappalardo said, and had recently been renovated.

"It's a shame," said the owner of Pappalardo's Pizza Cove. "I just thank God that nobody was hurt."

Police had shut down Hicksville Road between Thorne Avenue and William Road.

With Gary Dymski

and Patricia Kitchen

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