Several businesses were damaged and nearby homes were evacuated, after...

Several businesses were damaged and nearby homes were evacuated, after a fire broke out in a Merrick restaurant late Wednesday night, police said. Credit: Paul Mazza

A late-night fire damaged several businesses in a row of Merrick storefronts, forcing nearby homes to be evacuated as a precaution, Nassau County police said.

Police said the fire began in the kitchen area at Fuji Seoul Japanese and Korean restaurant on Merrick Avenue at about 11:50 p.m. Wednesday. Asst. Chief Fire Marshal James F. Hickman said about 125 firefighters from Merrick, Wantagh, Roosevelt and Freeport battled the blaze for about two hours.

One firefighter was transported to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow for treatment of what Hickman described as exhaustion. He said that firefighter was evaluated and later released.

Police said that while nearby homes were evacuated, none appear to have been damaged.

Approximately five of the businesses in the common storefront sustained some degree of smoke, water or fire damage, police said. Hickman said the restaurant and a business immediately next door suffered fire damage, while the adjacent businesses were damaged by smoke and water as a result of sharing a common cockloft.

While the cause of the fire remains under investigation by Arson Bomb Squad detectives and the Nassau County Fire Marshal's Office, officials said preliminary indications are it is non-suspicious.

Police said the street was reopened in the area before dawn.


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