Business owners 'in shock' over Huntington Village fire

Firefighters douse hot spots on Sunday, on March Firefighters douse hot spots on Sunday, on March 2, 2014 at scene of fire on New York Avenue in Huntington Village that destroyed several business after fire broke out Saturday. Photo Credit: James Carbone

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Firefighters doused lingering hot spots Sunday and store owners surveyed businesses burned out by a blaze that ripped through a block of stores in Huntington Village on Saturday night.

"We're in shock," said Donna Axelowitz, owner of the clothing store FAD. The store, which has been at that location for 18 years, had water damage. The restaurant next door, Red, had water and smoke damage.

About 70 people were evacuated from Red on Saturday night, and both locations were closed by order of the town Sunday.

An art store, a nail and spa salon and an asset management company were boarded up Sunday morning. Other businesses in that building, including a yoga studio, also were closed by the fire. On the second story, burned-out offices and a collapsed section of roof above the art store were visible from the street below.

Fire officials believe the blaze started at 425 New York Ave., the building that contains the three boarded-up stores.

"It appears there's been structural damage to the building" where the fire started, Huntington Town spokesman A.J. Carter said. The fire started about 7 Saturday night, he said. The cause of the fire has not been determined.

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But firefighters were called back to the building about 10 p.m. Sunday after sections rekindled, officials said. No one was injured, but firefighters closed New York Avenue as they took control of the blaze once again.

People who identified themselves as store owners, but who declined to give their names, went through the building about 11:30 a.m. "It's a disaster," one woman said.

Axelowitz said she was in the process of moving to a new location in Huntington and planned to move in April or May. Now she'll try to push up the move. "I'm concerned about our five employees. We're shut down," she said, adding that the basement had been flooded, ruining inventory.

One Suffolk County police officer suffered minor injuries when he fell and was taken to Huntington Hospital to receive stitches, police said. No other injuries were reported.

Sunday, the message at Huntington Yoga & Wellness Studio's telephone number had been changed to say that all classes had been canceled.

With Laura Figueroa

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