Fire rips through six businesses at Short Hills

Walter Bowne, Adviser
Spring arrives at Short Hills Center

At the Short Hills Town Center, flames flared so high on the dreery Friday morning of March 6th that some claimed to see the smoke from the Eastern track two miles away.

Six businesses, Classic Cakes, The Hanger Boutique, Camp Bow Wow, the Make-Up Bar, Pho Huong Viet, and a Starbucks, were destroyed by the two-alarmed fire.

  Luckily, there were no people or animals harmed since the shops were closed that day with work being done in the complex. “It was a great blessing for a lot of reasons.” Cherry Hill Fire Department Chief Chris Callan mentioned when explaining how the empty shops played a role in containing the fire.

   “One, no one was there. Two, there were no pets in the store. Three, if you look at the parking lot, there aren’t a whole lot of vehicles here.”

  The relatively empty complex aided in the effective mobility of the trucks and equipment into the area. Officials say that the fire was reported at 10:49am with responders arriving at the scene five minutes later.

   With the help of surrounding fire departments, the flames were able to be contained abotan hour later at 11:49am.

  Callen described the fire as “incredibly fast moving”. He explained how “It started out in the center, then when the roof collapsed, it spread throughout the entire building”.

  The businesses affected have had to adapt to the catastrophe, including Classic Cake, a community favorite for bakery goods. The store announced in a Facebook post that they will be moving into the Short Hills Deli while they decide their next course of action.

  “I proudly announce we have accepted the generosity from the Short Hills Deli and want to thank the amazing offer of Jerry Kaplan to house our team and begin to rebuild,” Barry Kratchman, the president of Classic Cake, wrote in the post.

  Kratchman ended the post with optimism: “Though many tears were shed, our future is bright. On behalf of the ownership group and our amazing team… Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!”