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Several businesses catch fire in Queens, New York

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sunday, a fire rushed through seven businesses at the Whitestone Shopping Center in Whitestone, Queens, New York, near the Cross Island Parkway in New York City.

The fire started at around 1:00 AM EST (UTC-5) on November 2, 2008 in a diner known as Lollipops. According to local sources, Lollipops was a popular restaurant in the area. The fire spread through the stores, up an awning and continued all the way to a corner of the shopping center. In the end, seven businesses were destroyed, including two banks, two restaurants and a GNC Nutrition Center. It took dozens of firefighters to put out the large blaze.

According to WCBS-TV, with his diner Lollipops destroyed, the owner was too upset to comment.

Nearby Chinese restaurant, King's Chef, was also damaged. "I cannot open because of whatever rules – tomorrow's Monday, Tuesday is a holiday," the owner, Patrick Chan, told WCBS-TV. "If I cannot get them to come tomorrow, I am going to lose big time."

Cquote1.svg This is a calamity for many of these small businesses to be out of business, particularly in this economy. Cquote2.svg

—State Senator Frank Padavan

Nearby residents reacted to the situation. Several residents have reported that it is a major loss to the community as they considered Lollipops to be a landmark. Several residents have reported knowing members of either the victim stores or others in the strip mall.

State Senator Frank Padavan commented on the loss of the shopping center.

"This is a calamity for many of these small businesses to be out of business, particularly in this economy," he said.

The next day, investigators were boarding up the windows of the damaged stores. No one was hurt because all the stores were closed at the time of the blaze.


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