A four-alarm fire destroyed a popular kosher restaurant in Passaic in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
The blaze took hours to extinguish and a couple was evacuated from an apartment above the Kings of Delancey deli. Aside from a few firefighters who suffered minor burns and cuts, there were no other injuries. The establishment is located on Main Avenue in an area in which many of shops and restaurants that serve the area’s Orthodox community are located.
Eli Klein, a member of Passaic’s Hatzolah, was one of the first responders to the scene. He told Hamodia of the extensive damage.
“The whole building is burnt through and through; I doubt anything survived inside,” he said.
The fire broke out at about 5 am. It seems to have started in the basement of the building, but the cause remains unknown. Within a short amount of time, the flames had burned their way up to the structure’s third floor, mostly gutting the interior. Once the residents of the upstairs apartment were safely out of the building, firefighters concentrated on containing the blaze until it could be completely extinguished. Among those who fought the blaze was Moshe Stareshefsky, a member of Passaic’s Orthodox community who serves on its fire brigade.
Mr. Klein said that after establishing that no ambulance services were needed, he and other Hatzolah members pitched in to support the fire department’s efforts, including bringing coffee and doughnuts to the scene.
“Baruch Hashem, Hatzolah was not really needed for this call, but we back up the fire department a lot and try to do whatever we can to help them,” he said.
King of Delancey is owned by Passaic residents Martin Mayer and his son Doniel, who is also a Hatzolah member. It was the first of its kind in the community when it opened its doors about 10 years ago offering a full menu of deli and fast-food types of items. It is certified by Passaic-Clifton Kashrus (PCK), which supervises most kosher establishments in the area.
The building’s structure remains intact but, according to reports, the site is likely to be condemned.
While the establishment’s future plans are too early to be determined, Mr. Klein was confident that it would rise from the ashes.
“I assume that they’ll rebuild,” he said. “It was always a successful store and now they hopefully can make it even bigger and nicer than before.”