Underground North Village Avenue fire causes power outage for Rockville Centre businesses


Several North Village Avenue restaurants reopened earlier this week after an underground fire left the eateries without power for two days.

At 10:38 a.m. on April 20, firefighters responded to a report of smoke coming from a strip of stores on North Village Avenue, according to Rockville Centre Fire Chief Brian Cook. Upon arrival, units saw smoke coming from a manhole in a lot adjacent to the businesses.

First-responders notified the village’s Electric Department, and power in the burning underground cables was shut off. Firefighters then opened up the manhole and quickly put out the fire without going underground, Cook said.

Smoke from the underground fire went into some of the eateries, which were evacuated due to high readings of carbon monoxide, he added, as well as unidentified noxious fumes. The Fire Department alerted Nassau County Hazardous Materials Response Division and was on the scene for about four hours.

Nobody was injured, Cook said. One person was evaluated, but refused medical attention.

The cause of the fire was still being investigated at press time, according to Phil Andreasm, superintendent of the Electric Department. The fire damaged four sets of cables, he added, and the subsequent outage affected about 30 customers.

Affected businesses included Greek Town Family Restaurant, Thai Table, the Village Raw Bar and Golden Fortune.

Niko Vasilopoulos, owner of Greek Town, said some smoke entered the basement of his restaurant, but that the business suffered no permanent electrical issues. He added that power was restored at about 2 a.m. on Sunday, and that his business reopened that day.

PK Hinton, an employee at Thai Table, said that smoke entered the basement as well as the main dining area, but that there was no smoke damage. They also reopened Sunday.

Chinese restaurant Golden Fortune re-opened on Monday, and the Village Raw Bar said it was set to open on Wednesday, as it needed a few days to get new shipments of fresh seafood.

Andreas said village employees worked up to 18-hour shifts to remedy the situation. “The line crews worked tirelessly,” he said. “They did an outstanding job.”