Fire Guts Islamic Cultural Center

7 Online - September 19, 2009

by Jim Dolan

MORRISANIA (WABC) -- A third-alarm fire that tore through a row of businesses in the Morrisania section of the Bronx also damaged an influential Islamic community center.

Heavy flames shot through the roof of a corner grocery store and Kennedy Fried Chicken on East 166th Street.

The fire reportedly started just before midnight and quickly spread down the block.

Officials say no injuries were immediately reported and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Along with the businesses, the fire damaged the Islamic Cultural Center, which served as a community hub following a devastating 2007 fire that killed 10 people, nine of them children.

Funeral services for the victims were held at the center, which was flooded with mourning community leaders and residents who made their way past the caskets.

Following that fire, FDNY officials used the the center to distribute batteries for smoke alarms and meet with local Imams to discuss the importance of spreading fire safety tips to community residents.