Deadline to clear Williston Park fire site extended

On Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, Williston Park Mayor On Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, Williston Park Mayor Paul Ehbar stands by storefronts in a key commercial corridor on Willis Avenue that were destroyed by a five-alarm fire July 24. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

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A deadline to clear the site of last month's five-alarm fire in Williston Park or to submit plans for the work has been extended indefinitely, since those involved in the remediation are "working together" to restore the site as quickly as possible, Mayor Paul Ehrbar said Thursday.

The early-morning July 24 fire on Willis Avenue, near Goodrich Street, destroyed five businesses: The Place bar, S & F Shoe Repair, Williston Plumbing, a laundry and the Hair Junkie salon.

An Aug. 13 letter from the village building department informed owners of the properties they had 10 business days -- until Wednesday -- to devise a plan to clear the scorched site.

After the deadline date, the board said in the letter that it had the option of taking "corrective action" if the cleanup was not done or plans for the job proposed.

But Ehrbar said Thursday the owners are being given more time to organize plans.

The burned-out properties in one of the village's two business districts resemble a war zone, and village officials have required that the land be cleared and filled in like a parking lot.

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Only three of the five structures have been razed.

"We gave them a deadline, but it was not set in stone," Ehrbar said. The village, the landlords and the insurance companies "are working together for remediation and rebuilding," he said. "At this point, there is no timeline."

Tom Fascaldi, owner of the plumbing and hair salon properties, said, "We're trying to plan to rebuild. It depends on what the insurance company says."

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Referring to the village, Fascaldi added, "They want us to do it [the remediation] now. We've gotten some estimates from some demo guys" and for the lots to be cleared and filled.

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