MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A massive fire in Mineola destroyed a business overnight and snarled Long Island Raid Road service for hours early Friday morning.
The blaze broke out at an auto body shop around 11:30 p.m. Thursday at Willis Avenue near Second Street.
“It’s like somebody punched you in the stomach,” owner Kevin Thomas told CBS2’s Magdalena Doris.
The roof was severely damaged by smoke, flames and heat that caused it to buckle and collapse.
“This is a warehouse, there are classic cars stored in there, muscle cars,” Mineola Fire Chief Jeffrey Clark said. “About 18 cars and I believe two trucks.”
What’s worse, Thomas’ lab mix Dobey was inside the shop when he closed up and he said she’s now missing.
“Eleven years old, she’s a good girl,” Thomas said.
Eight fire companies came to assist in knocking the fire down, which damaged a neighboring supermarket. Anthony Petito owns the car detailing shop next door.
“I was walking by and I heard the walls falling into the street,” he said.
Firefighters dragged their hoses across the nearby LIRR train tracks just feet from the Mineola train station. The MTA suspended four LIRR lines into the Mineola station overnight.
“Too much fire to have anyone in the building, it would not have been safe so we did what we call a surround and drown,” the fire chief said.
Four hours after the initial spark, train service resumed with delays. As the sun rose, firefighters cleared the scene where only debris remained.
Despite all being lost, Thomas, a veteran who served in the Vietnam War, found a sign of strength.
“The two flags that didn’t get destroyed, it was the Marine Corps flag in the American flag in the front,” he said. “Not even a mark on them.”
Just beyond the tracks, the building was still smoldering Friday afternoon and is in the process of being demolished.