Oakdale fire destroys several businesses

Annie Fotiadis, owner of Oakdale Pizza gets a hug from employee Christina Brycki as Montville firefighters and members of the State Police Major Crime Squad investigate a major fire a the Oakdale Plaza early Tuesday morning Sept. 7, 2010.
Annie Fotiadis, owner of Oakdale Pizza gets a hug from employee Christina Brycki as Montville firefighters and members of the State Police Major Crime Squad investigate a major fire a the Oakdale Plaza early Tuesday morning Sept. 7, 2010.

Montville — A three-alarm fire at the Oakdale Plaza, a strip mall at 430 Chapel Hill Road, destroyed several businesses early this morning, including Oakdale Pizza, which had been in business since 1974.

The strip mall is next door to the Oakdale Fire Department. It was reported at 1:12 a.m.

Oakdale Fire Lt. Micah Messer said when he went to check on the blaze the only business that was on fire was the Oakdale Cafe, a bar.

But within minutes the fire had spread to the adjacent K-9 Corner grooming business and to the nearby Great Wall Chinese restaurant.

The Oakdale Cafe and K-9 Corner were completely leveled by the fire.

"There were flames shooting out," said Messer. "We tried to contain it but once it got on the roof, it just spread quickly."

As the fire spread along the roof line of the complex, Oakdale Pizza became engulfed in flames.

Oakdale Collectibles, an antiques business, which is next to the Chinese restaurant, was also severely damaged in the fire.

Most of the nine businesses at the strip mall, where damaged to some extent by the fire.

No injuries were reported, said Messer. The businesses were closed at the time of the fire.

While there was a fire hydrant across the street from the fire, Messer said they are primarily used for flushing and are not suited for fire prevention.

A tanker-shuttle system had to be used to bring water to the area. Nine tanker trucks from area towns brought water to the scene from Oxoboxo Lake.

Two ladder trucks along with five hand lines attacked the blaze.
He said all the hydrants in the Montville Manor area, where the strip mall is located, are not equipped to fight fires.

Dottie Yaworski's son owns the Oakdale Cafe. The business was not open to the public because it was waiting for approval of its liquor license.

"We were going to open within the next couple of weeks," said Yaworski. "It was going to be a family business. My son bought it. My two daughters and I were going to work there. It's such a loss. It's a sad situation."

Yaworski said she had no idea what could have caused the fire since "nothing was plugged in and no work was done there recently."

Montville Fire Marshal Raymond Occhialini said the state fire marshal was called in to assist with the investigation.

He said the cause of the fire is not known at this time.

Members of the State Police Major Crime Squad investigate a major fire a the Oakdale Plaza early Tuesday morning Sept. 7, 2010.
Members of the State Police Major Crime Squad investigate a major fire a the Oakdale Plaza early Tuesday morning Sept. 7, 2010.

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