Owners of Mazzaferro's — destroyed by flames — eye rebuilding amid outpouring of community support
‘We will be back better than ever’
ROME — The cause of the fire at Mazzaferro’s Meats & Deli in Rome remains under investigation, while the family and the city look to rebuild.
Rome Fire Chief Thomas Iacovissi said there is no sign that the fire was intentional or criminal. “There’s nothing suspicious,” Iacovissi said Monday morning. He noted that the department’s fire investigators are still trying to determine what started Friday’s blaze.
The fire was discovered shortly after 1 p.m. Friday at the longstanding meat market on Ridge Mills Road. According to Iacovissi, the fire was first discovered near the exterior kitchen door on the north side of the building. He said investigators are looking to determine if the fire started inside the building or on the outside by the door.
All employees and customers escaped the building without injury.
Firefighters arrived on scene and launched an interior attack into the building, the chief said, but were forced to pull out soon after. The fire crews then surrounded the building and battled the flames for nearly two hours before the fire was finally under control, officials stated.
Iacovissi said crews remained on the scene late into Friday night dousing hotspots and cleaning up the debris.
“The metal roof had collapsed, so there were smoldering areas under the metal roof that we had to peel away,” Iacovissi said.
Rome Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo said the city and Oneida County helped with heavy machinery to tear down the building and collect and contain the debris. Izzo said Rome Code Enforcement would stay in touch with the Mazzaferro family as they proceed forward with managing the insurance and property.
“It’s just such a tragedy. It’s a huge loss for the city. They’ve built a tremendous business,” Izzo said. “Our hearts go out to the whole Mazzaferro family. It was an iconic business. Everybody is just so used to going in and out of there.”
Izzo noted that, unfortunately, the market’s location is not within the designated area for the city’s Community Development Block Grant funding. But she said the City of Rome would attempt to help the Mazzaferro’s find money to rebuild.
“If there’s anything available, any funding stream, we’d like to be able to help them,” Izzo said, noting that they could look for state money.
In the meantime, a GoFundMe.com fundraiser has been set up to help Mazzaferro’s Meats & Deli rebuild. Entitled “Mazzaferro’s Meats & Deli Fire Recovery” at GoFundMe.com, the fundraiser has collected more than $9,000 so far, as of Monday afternoon. Local resident Rachael Hojnacki set up the fundraiser and promised that all of the money will be used exclusively to help the business recovery efforts.
“Life is built on memories and we certainly have many to cherish of Mazzaferro’s Meat Market. It won’t be the end of a beautiful, lasting family tradition,” said family members Maryann and John Mazzaferro, former Rome mayor and longtime Common Council president. John, who is also a longtime educator in the Rome City School District, also worked for a time at the family business.
“The owners are young and it will be back. All the support of so many wonderful people in Rome, NY will make it happen. There isn’t a doubt in our minds,” the couple said.
On Friday, Mazzaferro’s co-owner Brian Mazzaferro said they plan to rebuild.
The company posted an encouraging message on their Facebook page the night of the fire. “The entire Mazzaferro family and staff would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support,” the family posted online. “Words cannot express our gratitude to each and every one of you! A very special thank you to all of the first responders. We will be back better than ever!”
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