HICKSVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The owner of a beloved family-owned bakery on Long Island is vowing to rebuild after fire late Sunday night destroyed the building.
Bright orange flames and thick clouds of billowing smoke shot through Francesco’s Bakery as 75 firefighters with 12 different departments battled in intense conditions trying to get inside to knock the fire down.
But the damage was done.
“The whole building is condemned. Everything is lost, everything,” owner Francesco Guerreri told CBS2’s Scott Rapoport.
The fire broke out at 11:30 p.m. on Sunday on South Broadway in Hicksville and spread quickly. The sheer intensity caused the roof to collapse. For Guerreri, who opened the business, which specializes in handmade wedding cakes, in 1986 when he was 21 years old, the incident is beyond heartbreaking.
“When they sent me pictures of the flames coming out of the roof I drove over here and I just didn’t want to believe it. But this is a disaster,” Guerreri said.
He said the bakery had 90 wedding cakes to make and another 350 sheet cakes that have been ordered, and that he will make good on it. The owner’s son said those orders will be taken care of at their other location in Massapequa as quickly as possible.
Workers at the bakery have been going over orders with customers on the phone.
“Working with the brides is something that we thrive for every day. Putting a smile on their face, that’s really what my father wanted to do here and that’s what we’ve been doing for 33 years,” Antonio Guerreri said. “A lot of bridea are calling, wondering about their cakes, and we just want to reassure them… We haven’t missed a cake in 33 years and we don’t plan on starting right now.”
Back at the location in Hicksville, some former employees came to the scene of the fire when they heard the news.
“To see such a tragedy happen like this, it’s such a shame,” said former employee Jack Loccisano.
The fire was mostly contained to the bakery, officials said. There was some damage to a restaurant next-door.
For those who live in the area and have been coming to the business for years, the bakery was like an old friend, Rapoport reported.
“They made my daughter’s wedding cake, for her wedding. It hurts,” customer Steve Gaubatz said.
“It was local. Guy has been here. It was his father’s store and he took it over. Generation after generation,” local business owner Steve Florio added.
There was no one in the bakery at the time of the fire. One firefighter was treated for minor injuries. The owner of the bakery said his family plans to rebuild.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.