🍕 Fire damages businesses at strip mall

🍕 Local pizzeria badly damaged by flames and smoke

🍕 GoFundMe fundraiser aims to support staff


BRICK — A local pizzeria may be completely destroyed after a roaring three-alarm fire at a strip mall.

The fire along Herbertville Road in Brick was first seen shortly before 5 p.m., according to Kevin Batzel, chief of the Brick Bureau of Fire Safety. Batzel said in a statement that it took around an hour and a half for firefighters to bring the fire under control.

By the time the flames were out, significant damage had been done to Cuzzin's pizzeria and two adjacent businesses. Batzel said the building was deemed unsafe.

Photos on social media and video of the fire from News 12 New Jersey showed blown-out windows and charred debris.

Cuzzin's owner Alfredo Martinez said to News 12 that he was inside the restaurant with other staff when the fire broke out. He had owned the pizzeria for 14 years, the Asbury Park Press reported.

Paul Mazzeo, chief of Laurelton Fire Company Station 23, said to News 12 that the fire was especially destructive and spread quickly because of the construction of the strip mall.

The roof and rear walls of the plaza came down as a result of the fire, Bureau of Fire Safety Assistant Fire Chief Richard Orlando said to the Press. Orlando said two firefighters were injured.

SEE ALSO: More NJ homes have guns inside, new poll shows

GoFundMe fundraiser aims to support staff

Anthony Carannante, the owner of Papa V's which is located a block away from Cuzzin's, created a GoFundMe page to support Martinez and his staff. Carannante contributed $1,000 to the fundraiser.

"We could only imagine the pain and heartache that Alfredo, the owner of Cuzzin's Pizza, is going through along with his staff. Their livelihood was taken from them by a freak accident," said Carannante.

Whether Cuzzin's can eventually recover is unclear. A call to Cuzzin's placed Sunday went straight to voicemail. New Jersey 101.5 also reached out to Martinez in an email.

"Our favorite pizza place burned down today! Hope no one was hurt and they can rebuild quickly," said one man on Facebook.

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