A short-lived fire this morning closed John’s Famous Bagels Deli Café at 255 South Little Tor Road. A female employee was injured by the grease fire, which was reported around 10:30 a.m. The unidentified worker suffered burns on both arms and was taken to the hospital by the New City Ambulance Corps.
Owner John Aiman said the employee was grilling vegetables and “then all of a sudden the store was on fire.” He said everyone in the store ran out. There were employees and customers inside at the time.
Aiman said the worker was burned on her forearms. No one else was hurt. The sprinkler system turned on immediately and according to New City Assistant Fire Chief Jim Avaras the fire was put out within 15 minutes.
“The fire was up to the duct work,” said Avaras. “We used Congers and West Nyack (fire departments) to assist us.”
The Hillcrest Fire Department also responded along with Clarkstown Police, who directed traffic along Little Tor Road. About 30 firefighters were at the scene.
None of the other stores in the strip mall were affected. The utilities were only shut off to John’s Famous Bagels.
Aiman, who owned the business for three years, hopes to be able to make repairs and reopen by the end of the week. The Clarkstown Health Department will determine when the shop can open for business.
“Most of the damage is from the water, sprinkler system,” he said, adding some ceiling tiles will have to be replaced and the water will have to be cleaned up.
Avaras said the hot and humid weather takes a toll on firefighters.
“It’s hot on the firefighters,” he said. “We have all this heavy gear on so it’s hard on the firefighters.