Thursday, August 22, 2013

ATF investigating Nifty Fifty's fire

Posted: Sunday, July 21, 2013

A fire at a popular Bensalem eatery is under investigation by local and federal officials after an early morning blaze that left Nifty Fifty’s heavily damaged Friday, Bensalem police said.

The two-alarm blaze was reported at 6:48 a.m., less than an hour after the restaurant opened, Bensalem Director of Public Safety Fred Harran said.
The building was evacuated and no injuries were reported, but in the aftermath a firefighter was taken to Aria Health Torresdale for observation due to a heat-related problem, Bensalem fire investigator Rob Sponheimer said.
Heavy fire conditions through the roof and front of the building forced firefighters to battle the blaze outside the building instead of inside, Sponheimer said.
Firefighters placed the blaze under control within two hours, Harran said.
Sponheimer said Friday night that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is assisting in the investigation into the fire. He added that the bureau agents are assisting because the fire was considered a major loss at a commercial building.
Only employees, not customers, were believed to be in the building when the first call came in.
Sponheimer said officials believe the fire started on the west side of the building in an empty space between the restaurant ceiling and the attic flooring.
Street Road in Bensalem was closed for hours between Mechanicsville and Knights roads and traffic was detoured.
Fifteen fire companies from Bensalem and surrounding communities assisted in battling the blaze.
In addition to Bensalem, Nifty Fifty’s has locations in Northeast Philadelphia, Ridley Township, Clementon, N.J., and Turnersville, N.J. The Bensalem restaurant opened in 2000.
Earlier this year, a fire damaged the Ridley Township restaurant. The fire cause was ruled electrical, according to published reports.
The chain specializes in 1950s decor and a menu that features homemade French fries, hand-dipped milkshakes and freshly ground and formed beef burgers. The Bensalem restaurant also has a miniature golf course attached.
According to official records, the stores are owned by Robert Mattei, 73, of Del Ray Beach, Fla.; Leo McGlynn, 52, of Swarthmore; Brian Welsh, 48, and Joseph Donnelly, 49, both of Springfield; and Elena Ruiz, 46, of Drexel Hill.


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