A neighborhood staple has vowed to rebuild following a devastating two alarm blaze that ripped through Mac’s Mens Shop & Uniforms and a handful of other businesses on Flatbush Avenue this weekend.
“We were the oldest store on Flatbush Avenue and we’re going to rebuild,” Mac’s defiant owner Anthony Balzofiore said Monday following the devastating fire.
Established in 1926, Mac’s has been long considered the first stop for local cops, firefighters, sanitation workers, correction officers and postal workers looking for new uniforms.
Yet the 1 am blaze on Aug. 29, which ripped through a swath of stores between Kings Highway and Flatlands Avenue, took its toll. Mac’s was left in singed tatters following the fire, which FDNY officials said began in a Chinese restaurant a few doors down.
“It’s a total loss,” said Balzofiore, who bought the business from Mac in 1977. “It’s sad because this is like a family business. My brother and I worked at Mac’s since we were 13-years-old.”
Other damaged business include a Chinese restaurant, Brooklyn House of Locks, Dave’s Famous Bagels, Flatlands Foot Care and a Chase Bank at the corner of Flatbush and Flatlands avenues.
Over 100 firefighters scrambled to the scene early Sunday to put out the roaring blaze. Columns of flames poured out of windows in the front and the back of the row of one-story businesses, witnesses said.
It took about an hour to bring the blaze under control. Firefighters used saws to cut their way through store security shutters so they could get inside and put out pockets of flames as they skipped across several rooftops.
Fire Marshals determined that the conflagration started in the attic of the Chinese restaurant, but were still determining what exactly sparked the blaze by late Monday.
Councilman Jumanee Williams (D-Flatbush) said he’s called upon the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Small Business Services to help smoked-out business owners.
“Right now we’re coordinating with them to see what we can do, but everyone’s still in shock,” Williams said. “Even the businesses that weren’t too damaged by the fire were flooded out.”
Balzofiore said Mac’s was too damaged to open Monday, but he’s already transferred the business number to a mobile phone so he could continue to take orders from customers.
“We figure that in a week we’ll open up at a temporary location,” he said. “We want to come back real quick.”