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Fire shuts down NYC Subs

November 12, 2005

Just before 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning, a pair of Pepsi service men carefully open the door to New York City Subs on Wasco Street and slowly walk in.

“Hey guys,” says Andrew Deenik, the sub shop owner with the flaring moustache. “You won’t have to service me for a couple weeks.”

The popular sandwich shop on Wasco Street will be closed at least until Thanksgiving.

The men nod solemnly while their eyes search for the reason why.

Two hours after the sub shop closed on Sunday, a fire broke out in the storage area of the sandwich restaurant.

A sprinkler contained the fire. But the smoke billowed everywhere, turning the muraled walls to a gummy, black soot.

“That little guy saved the day,” Deenik says, pointing to the tiny sprinkler, hanging from the ceiling.

That little sprinkler might have saved more than a day. New York City Subs shares space in a 20,000 square-foot commercial building, which also houses Hood River Outfitters, Interfluve and a Big Gym office.

“Without sprinklers and an automatic alarm, this fire could have grown to destroy the entire building,” said Devon Wells, assistant fire chief.

Hood River Outfitters owner Ruthie Nye was four miles down Interstate 84 when the alarm went off.

“When I arrived smoke was pouring out of the entire roof of the buiding,” Nye said. New York City was full of smoke … it looked like the whole building was on fire.”

Hood River Outfitters’ kayak shop sustained a little smoke damage. Nye said it would remain closed until Saturday afternoon.

In the process of saving the day, the sprinkler drenched everything in the restaurant.

The sprinkler only contained the fire. It could not extinguish it.

So the Hood River Fire Department, which responded to it, had to. And to get to the flames, firefighters had to shatter windows.

“Those guys were on it,” Deenik says. “They were here fast. They did a good job.”

According to a press release, the cause of the fire is still under investigation. Deenik believes, however, the fire ignited through a process called spontaneous combustion.

“Old rags near a heat source in dry storage,” he says. “It’s dangerous.”

Rather than sob over the soot, Deenik is allowing the fire to compel him onto neglected ambitions.

“While I’m down and out,” he said, “I might as well clean it up and bring it up to 2005 standards.”

After a brief tour of the fire damage, Deenik shows the Pespi servicemen his soda fountain. It has a vintage look to it. But it’s impractical for the shop’s space.

He’s going to want a new one; one that has ice. He’s going to get new cabinets too. Expand the customer area so more people can enjoy cheesesteak sandwiches.

“It’ll look like a facelift,” he says. “It’ll look like it went down to L.A. and had a little plastic surgery.”

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