Fire Guts Five Jericho Turnpike Shops

HUNTINGTON STATION, New York, Jan. 8

BY: Andrew Wroblewski

A devastating fire ripped through five Huntington Station stores early Wednesday morning, Suffolk County police said.

Collectors Kingdom, a comic book shop located at 202 West Jericho Turnpike, is thought to be where the blaze, which was reported at 2:47 a.m., originated, police said. The store’s roof collapsed in the fire, town spokesman A.J. Carter said.

No injuries were reported, and police confirmed nobody was inside the store when the fire was reported. As of press time, the cause of the fire was still under investigation by the Suffolk Police Arson Squad and Huntington Town Fire Marshal Terry McNally.

Officials said the fire does not appear to be criminal.

Firefighters battle a blaze in Huntington Station Wednesday morning that damaged five stores in the West Hills Shopping Center. (Photo by Steve Silverman)
Firefighters battle a blaze in Huntington Station Wednesday morning that damaged five stores in the West Hills Shopping Center. (Photo by Steve Silverman)

“At this point, there is nothing in the investigation viewed as suspicious,” town spokesman A.J. Carter said Wednesday afternoon. “And as of now, [due to the damage] the stores cannot open.”

Collectors Kingdom owner Michael Bradley, of Huntington Station, could not be reached for comment by press time Wednesday. In a June 2014 report, he told Long Islander News that the shop had been in business since 1982 and was one of the longest-running comic shops on Long Island.

Along with Collectors Kingdom, T. I. Elite, a nail salon and spa; Deli Pupuseria Salvadoreña; Artista Kitchen Designs; and Hair It Iz, a hair salon, were all damaged by the blaze. They were all tenants of the West Hills Shopping Center, which Carter said was built in 1974 –The building, Carter said, has been owned by Elias Properties Huntington, LLC since 1999.

Several owners of the shops surveyed the damage Wednesday morning while workers cleared flooding that had pooled in front of Collectors Kingdom and Deli Pupuseria Salvadoreña. One owner, Phyllis Riccardi, of Hair It Iz, has been in business since 1988, she said, and just recently completed an overhaul of the shop.

“I made it brand new,” the Huntington Station resident said. “Then I got the call; the whole shopping center was on fire. I just put all my money into renovating [the shop]. There are no plans yet, none whatsoever… I don’t know where we stand now.”

Other shop owners said they’ll be searching for new locations to reopen their businesses while they sort through the damage of the fire. A man at the scene who identified himself as the landlord declined to comment.

According to fire officials, more than 75 firefighters – from Huntington Manor, Huntington, Melville, Greenlawn and Dix Hills – and 10 trucks were used in the response, led by Huntington Manor Chief Frank McQuade. Halesite, Cold Spring Harbor and Syosset firefighters were also on standby coverage for Huntington Manor.

The aftermath of a Wednesday morning fire in Huntington Station, which damaged five shops in the West Hills Shopping Center on West Jericho Turnpike, is surveyed by bystanders.
The aftermath of a Wednesday morning fire in Huntington Station, which damaged five shops in the West Hills Shopping Center on West Jericho Turnpike, is surveyed by bystanders.

Originally published: Long Islander News: The Long Islander
(Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015;  Front page)

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