New Jersey Firefighters Battle Strip Mall Blaze

Shortly after 2 p.m. on Jan. 4, Cherry Hill, N.J. firefighters were dispatched to a fire at the Short Hills Restaurant and Delicatessen, which is located in a large strip mall off of Evesham Road.

The first arriving Units were faced with a fast moving fire which had engulfed the back section and roof area at this large 200 seating restaurant. The Restaurant was a local South Jersey landmark. The 2nd alarm was quickly sounded followed by a 3rd alarm bringing all of the Companies from Cherry Hill Township plus additional Ladder Companies from Voorhees Twp. Haddonfield and Lawnside plus a fast team from the West Berlin Fire Department.

The fire apparently started in a fenced-in area in the rear of the restaurant containing the refrigeration units and rupturing a natural gas line. The flames were spread by high winds fanning the fire and spread the fire into the roof area at the two story strip mall.

Flames were dropping from the rafters into the attic area and spreading into the walls on the second floor of the Deli. Cherry Hill fire fighters made a aggressive interior attack using two-and-a-half inch water lines but the fire was one step ahead of them. This forced them to setup Ladder Pipes for an exterior attack.

Within 45 minutes most of the flames were knocked down allowing fire fighters to reenter for another interior attack.

A large fire wall which separated the large mall helped fire fighters contain the blaze to the one section of the mall. At the height of the fire a rear wall collapsed but there were no injuries.

There were seventy fire fighters that fought the stubborn blaze for over one hour before the fire was placed Under Control by Cherry Hill Fire Chief Robert Giorgio.

The blaze is being investigated by the Cherry Hill Fire Marshal's Office.

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