Updated 04/28/2010 02:20 PM
Fire Rips Through Bronx Laundromat, Hardware Store
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An investigation is underway into what caused a massive fire that ripped through a commercial building in Bronx overnight, gutting a hardware store which has been in the same family for three generations.
Flames broke out around 1 a.m. in a laundromat in the one-story building at 4811 White Plains Road in Wakefield.
Firefighters had to attack the fire from above, spraying water on the roof to contain the flames. It was brought under control in three hours.
There are no reported injuries and no word on what might have caused the fire.
The hardware store, "B" Electric and Hardware, was started in 1898 on the Lower East Side and moved to its current location in 1958. Paul Bonfiglio's grandfather started the business shortly after docking at Ellis Island.
Family members are mourning its loss.
"When they started talking about well, we're sorry to say your business is destroyed and gone, my father broke down and turned around and said, 'my father's store will stand again,'" said Bonfiglio, son of the hardware store owner. "He said he'll go up to his eyebrows to get his business back going."
Customers stopped by to offer comfort and share memories about the store. Local resident George Thomas says he's been picking up supplies here since the 1970s.
"This is a part of the Bronx that will be sorely missed," he said.
The hardware store is insured; the Bonfiglios say all efforts will now turn to rebuilding.
The Fire Department says the fire does not appear suspicious.