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Three-alarm fire damages five Norwalk stores
Posted On: Nov 14, 2008
Three-alarm fire damages five Norwalk stores

Updated On: Nov 12, 2008 (19:59:00)

Three-alarm fire damages five Norwalk stores


Hour Staff Writers

An early morning blaze Monday heavily damaged several businesses inside the Marshalls Plaza at 396 Westport Ave., but spared anchor tenant, Marshalls department store.

The three-alarm fire began at 5:30 a.m. A crew of 33 Norwalk firefighters, aided by firefighters from New Canaan and Westport, had the fire under control by 6:51 a.m., according to Norwalk Deputy Chief Bob Talloni.

A few minor injuries were reported among the firefighters but nothing that would cause the firefighters to take sick leave, according to Talloni.

Michael F. DiScala, president of M.F. DiScala & Co., the Norwalk developer who owns the building, said it appears that the fire began inside of Elegance Cleaners and spread to three other stores, causing "some heavy damage to the stores to the west."

Elegance Cleaners was gutted and Kashmir Indian Kitchen suffered severe damage, DiScala said.

Blimpies Subs & Salads, Warehouse Wine and Liquor and Sprint PCS suffered less damage and may reopen in a few days, according to John DiScala, vice president of real estate management at Sedona Group, LLC, the company that manages the strip mall.

A firewall inside the building prevented the fire from spreading to Marshalls department store and other businesses to the east, according to Michael DiScala.

"Thank goodness (there were) no injuries and everything was closed," he said. "We have a lot of sympathy for our tenants and for our customers, especially now, because the holiday is coming around. Hopefully, we can get them back up and running soon."

The stores had no sprinkler systems because they were built before laws required them to instal the systems, according to Talloni.

John DiScala said he felt bad about the clothing that was lost in the fire at Elegance Cleaners.

"The cleaners got hit the hardest," he said. "All these people are coming here and asking: 'Where's my clothes?' It's not fun having to tell them that their clothes were lost in the fire."

Contractors were on site at the strip mall Monday, cleaning out fire-damaged items and shoveling soot into dumpsters. The stores were expected to be boarded up by the end of the day, John DiScala said.

Mohbub Ahmud, owner of Kashmir Indian Kitchen, looked on as contractors cleaned the debris out of his business.

"Of course it's bad," he said. "It's not only me but other people who were harmed by this."

In 2006, Marshalls Plaza underwent a $250,000 facelift that gave it a unified facade and European tones. Built in 1957, the steel-and-brick building was once home to Grand Union Supermarket. M.F. DiScala & Co. purchased the property about seven years ago.

After Grand Union filed for bankruptcy, M.F. DiScala began leasing it to Marshalls and 10 satellite stores.


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