After a heavy fire ripped through Gino's Steakhouse at 1003 Boston Post Rd. Wednesday morning, the building has been declared a total loss, according to Allingtown Fire Chief Peter Massaro. Smoke could be seen billowing from the roof as firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze, which was reported around 8 a.m. and extinguished about two and a half hours later.
No one was injured and the building was vacant at the time of the fire. The owners of the building are on scene, but Massaro said he has not had a chance to talk with them yet.
"I was standing at the drive-through-window and I didn't notice it at first," Jennifer Messina of New Haven and employee of neighboring Dunkin Donuts said of the fire. "I saw all the smoke, black and grey and I thought it was the chimney until I got a good glance and saw it was a fire."
Messina said she had alerted a female cop who was standing in line who immediately went outside and called the fire department.
Massaro said when he was on Fairfax and Orange Street, he could see the smoke and alerted the fire department that it was a three-alarm fire.
The building is all wood and Massaro said it is very old. Massaro said as far as he knows, the building was under renovation.
Brian Banning of Malden Street said that the building has had work being done on it for the past three months.
"I had just been asking the employees at Dunkin Donuts this morning if they [Gino's Steakhouse] were open," Tameka Ceaser of Canton Street said. "I hadn't heard anything from my house where I usually hear sirens and then I came outside and saw the water and knew it was a fire. I thought, 'I hope it isn't Gino's!'"
On April 24, Gino's Steakhouse was opened under the ownership of Gene Arganese. In a release from Michael Walsh, public information officer for the city of West Haven, the building prior to becoming Gino's Steakhouse was known as Chops Steak and Fish Grill and prior to that it was the former site of Chuck's Steakhouse.
At the time of its opening, the release said that dining room had been refurbished.
No cause of the fire has been determined and they are unsure if the renovations had caused the fire, Massaro said.
Written by New Haven Register