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Burned businesses in Williston Park may soon be razed

Williston Park firefighters continue to work at the

Williston Park firefighters continue to work at the scene after 13 fire departments, including about 100 firefighters, battled a five-alarm blaze that damaged a line of stores and businesses on Willis Avenue near Goodrich Street in Williston Park early Thursday morning, July 24, 2014, Nassau County fire officials said. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The rubble-filled site of a five-alarm fire that ripped through a Williston Park business district in July is expected to be cleared next week, Mayor Paul Ehrbar said Wednesday.

Five buildings housing businesses -- including The Place Bar, S & F Shoe Repair, Williston Plumbing, a laundry and the Hair Junkie salon -- were destroyed July 24 in the blaze that tore through Willis Avenue.

The bar, shoe repair shop and laundry were razed immediately, but the demolition of the other buildings has been delayed as owners huddled with insurance company and village officials to determine when the structures could come down.

Family Dentistry, next to the hair salon, was closed after the fire due to smoke and water damage and Ehrbar said that building will likely be razed, as burning embers damaged the roof.

The site has been closed to the public since the fire.

"Hopefully next week we'll get started," Ehrbar said. A contractor has been hired to raze the remaining buildings other than the structure that housed the dental offices.

"Right now, we believe the dentist's office probably has to come down," Ehrbar said. He said it had not been determined whether the same contractor would handle that demolition.

The village is requiring landlords of the properties to return the site to a clean, filled-in level surface resembling a parking lot.

Giovanni Speciale, whose family owns a pizzeria across the street from the burned-out debris, said the site has become an "eyesore."

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