Fourteen businesses, most of them Jewish-owned, were destroyed in a massive fire in the New York borough of Queens on Friday night.
Three firefighters were injured while fighting the blaze. In all, it took six hours and nearly 200 firefighters to bring the fire under control.
Most of the businesses in the predominantly ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Kew Garden Hills were closed when the fire swept through the strip mall. The stores included a restaurant, deli, pizza shop, convenience store, law office, and barber shop.
A fire assessor said that it was not yet known what started the five-alarm fire, which caused damage that is likely to reach millions of dollars.
FDNY Queens Borough Commissioner Edward Baggott said that the fire had begun in the cockloft, a long open space above the ceilings shared by the individual businesses.
“These older buildings that are connected and undivided — there’s no fire stopping the fire quickly," Baggott said. "It spreads onto the roof and spreads very quickly.”