Grease Fire Rips Through Pantry Diner

Officials said the fire started because an oven was left on overnight.

An early morning fire ripped through the roof of the on Monday, and officials said the cause was an oven that was left on overnight.

According to John Thorp, 1st assistant chief of the Rockville Centre Fire Department, units responded to the call around 2:40 a.m., and arrived to see 20-foot flames shooting up from the diner's roof. He said the fire started in the kitchen, where an oven had been left on overnight. Grease in the air ducts caught fire, he explained, and since those ducts lead to the roof, the fire traveled through them to the diner's roof.

Thorp said the eatery's Ansul system — a fire suppression unit utilized to protect kitchen equipment from fire — extinguished a lot of the flames inside the diner's kitchen, however, the flames melted a significant portion of its interior. "The stuff in the kitchen would be unrecognizable to most people," Thorp said.

The fire was under control within an hour, he said, and there were no injuries sustained. Four neighboring departments assisted in extinguishing the blaze.

Thorp said the kitchen was extensively damaged, as was the roof. The rest of the diner suffered water damage, he said.

John November 16, 2011 at 02:27 AM
What does that have to do with the fire???
Pantry Diner November 16, 2011 at 06:10 AM
Not much John, I believe. To Sinking Island, a response. My family has owned the properties mentioned above since the late 70's when they were truly eyesores. One house was razed to the ground and replaced with another. I don't believe that they are as rundown as you do but perhaps I am a bit biased. In regards to issues with some tenants in the past I do agree that there have been some on occasion but we also have some wonderful tenants who have been with us for close to twenty years. And if I recall, the tenant with the pit bull (which is not against the law) was evicted for other reasons while the tenant with the unruly children wasn't renewed when we became aware of the issues. If you have problems with they section 8 system then perhaps you should lose your anonymity and complain to your locally elected officials. The system is there to help families in need who haven't been as fortunate as some of us. Long Island has changed much over the last few decades as we all know. Perhaps it's time for you to leave as well to an area where you would be more comfortable in your surroundings. On a last note, thankfully for you there are many other diners in the area that you may patronize with your wonderful attitude.
Anthony Bottan (Editor) November 16, 2011 at 02:27 PM
To Pantry Diner, Please email me at anthony@patch.com. I'd like to run a follow up on when the diner will reopen, etc. Thanks!
Dave Kloven November 17, 2011 at 02:29 AM
Pantry Diner, I am sorry for your loss. However, when you buy a home and spend your hard earned money maintaining it, the last thing anyone would welcome is the house next door going section 8. Maybe you dont mind it down the block from your Diner, but Im sure you dont live next door to a section 8 house. The bottem line is people (much like your family) buy run down homes, do the bare minimum to qualify for section 8 rental standanrds , then apply for your guarenteed rental income. RVC requires a owner occupancy on 2 family (at least now they do) to cut down on slumlords that dont maintain there home and bring undesirable neighbors. I'm sure that you 1) dont have a section 8 house next to yours and 2) if you owned and lived in a 2 family house , you would rent the other side of your house to section 8.
That RVC guy November 17, 2011 at 02:34 AM
Anthony...no comment on the section 8? Do you plan to raise your family here one day? Its a sickening, cynical money grab. Take a stand, brother.
That RVC guy November 17, 2011 at 02:38 AM
Btw, put me on the boycott list.
Bill V. November 17, 2011 at 02:52 AM
this is ridiculous, you plan to boycott this establishment for the simple fact the family rents to Section 8 housing, on Merrick Road. Give me a break, Section 8 is a legal process to give lower income families a better living condition.
That RVC guy November 17, 2011 at 03:42 AM
Bill... I worked my arse off to live here....because of the reputation of the town. I came from Queens originally, lived elsewhere in Nassau for 15 years, uneventfully. Then, I moved up.... I thought. In the last five years, I have witnessed the following; Several open air drug deals on my block; My son telling me about knife fights in the middle school, teacher assaults in the High School, helicopters hovering over my home....stuff I never experienced as a kid in Queens. Section 8 is a liberal pipe dream.... and a greedy, lazy landlord's payday... It is the sociological equivalent to a mestasticizing cancer. I grew up poor, worked my arse off..and now...I am being told by folks like you, that I, and my kids... have to endure the slings and arrows of the dysfunction that goes with section 8...because it makes YOU feel good. Why am I telling my kids to excel? To leave.... for a better life...outside of RVC? SHouldnt I want them....to stay? Perhaps I can allow them to become heroin addicts... and have Nassau county put them in Pantry Diner owned reclaimed homes... next to your kids.. or grandkids? You know...to give them a better living condition. What say you?
Pantry Diner November 17, 2011 at 05:08 AM
Dave, Thank you for your thoughts. It was tough enough getting called to the diner early monday morning only to see something that you've worked at your entire life literally up in flames. To then come home and see the initial post to the article really offended my as I felt my family was being unfairly attacked. As I mentioned earlier, my family bought the three houses as investment properties in the late 1970's when section 8 didn't exist. I did live in one of the houses for about 4 years in the mid 90's and never had any issues with any of the other tenants. Unfortunately, many things changed on the island. The insane housing craze of the late 90's into the 2000's really put a hurt on the rental property market. The young singles and couples who would usually rent for a few years while saving suddenly could "afford" to buy any house they wanted. We know where that ended up. I'm not trying to make excuses for renting to section 8 tenants but in all honesty when a property is vacant for a few months, sometimes it's the only choice you have. Out of the six tenants we have in those houses, three are section 8 of which two have been with us for over 15 years each and are good families. I feel the initial poster just has some bad memories from past tenants. In a nutshell, we've been a local family owned business since 1949 and have always tried to be good to the village and to our neighbors and I hope to continue to do so in the years to come.
Pantry Diner November 17, 2011 at 05:31 AM
That RVC guy, Amazing where this conversation has gone. Who knew that my business burning up would initiate such a healthy debate on the merits of government assisted programs. Let me begin by saying that I don't think that the Section 8 program is the reason for all of society's ills as some are implying. It also is a local Rockville Centre government program. Complaining to our locally elected officials if you are unhappy with their policies would do more than venting your frustrations online. As a business owner I am often unhappy with some of the programs our local and federal governments offer, but I also understand the need for some people to receive help and have a better chance at a quality life.
bootsy thornton November 17, 2011 at 07:26 AM
first of all dude what is ur problem w pitbulls? take a lap dude, everyone else just eat full birds for breakfast lunch and dinner. Buscos for life
bootsy thornton November 17, 2011 at 07:29 AM
first of all what is ur problem w pitbulls? take a lap dude, everyone else should just eat full birds for breakfast lunch and dinner. Buscos for life
Melissa November 18, 2011 at 06:59 AM
To my beloved Pantry Diner, I am so sorry to hear that this tragic event has occurred Furthermore, I Am more upset that this news post has extracted many negative, ignorant, disgusting statements listed above regarding neighboring homes located near the diner. Being a resident of Rockville Centre for 15 years, and residing 1 block away from the mentioned section 8 houses the diner owns in previous posts I have Never had an issue. The pantry diner has been a part of my life for YEARS, the family has extended their services to the community for many many years! This is a horrible and tragic experience, and this blog site should not be your platform to boycott, and exploit the diner in any bad way. God forbid anything like this should happen to you or something you worked for your whole life.
Pantry Diner November 18, 2011 at 02:55 PM
Melissa, Thank you for the kind words. They brought somewhat of a smile to my face for the first time this week.
Melissa November 18, 2011 at 04:36 PM
No problem, people can be so crass and ignorant. Keep your chin up and stay positive
Jeff November 18, 2011 at 07:26 PM
My family has been going to the Pantry Diner for over 20 years. Nina, who is an exceptional waitress has also become a family friend. We wish you the best of luck in recovering from this accident and a speedy reopening for business where you will continue to provide a wonderful service to the community. How this could have turned into a hate war for Section 8 is completely ridiculous.
Snarf Melendes November 19, 2011 at 04:31 PM
Hey That RVC Guy, why don't you trying leaving RVC? It appears this relationship has taken its toll.
John Morrissey December 02, 2011 at 01:00 PM
When will the diner reopen?
Juan Boria December 03, 2011 at 04:05 AM
My wife and I are very sorry to hear about the extensive damage to the diner. We have been coming here for years now and have not found a replacement in the interim. The insurance should have crews there repairing the diner speedily. whats the delay? Thank God no loss of live occurred.
jim lewis December 14, 2011 at 09:53 PM
I am from east-central Georgia. My wife and I visited our neice in Oceanside back in August. I am an early riser and I found myself at the Pantry Diner for breakfast every morning for the 5 mornings I was there. The food was great and the staff could not have made me feel more at home. I hated hearing about the fire and I hope the diner will reopen soon. Sincerely, Jim Lewis
Jeff March 05, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Any update as to when repairs/renovations will begin and when the expected reopening is?
Samantha G May 01, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Do you know when the pantry diner will be opening back up.?
RUSS May 11, 2012 at 12:51 AM


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