Residents shocked by damage after Flemington, New Jersey fire

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Residents shocked by damage after Flemington fire. Nora Muchanic reports during Action News at 4pm on May 5, 2017. (WPVI)

A dry cleaners was destroyed when flames ripped through the longtime business in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.

It took firefighters about three hours to get the fire under control after it erupted around 7 p.m. Thursday at Tirpoke Cleaners on Reaville Ave.

On Friday, residents were showing up to the scene in shock at the extent of the damage.

The massive blaze engulfed the building, gutting it and destroying everything inside.

"I feel very bad for them. I've known them for many, many years and they didn't deserve what happened," said coffee shop owner Bobbie Pyatt.

The Tirpok family has six stores, but this was the production facility where everything was sent to be cleaned. Debbie Neal runs the Lambertville location.

"I just had a girl that I called and she was a little upset because Lambertville's prom is Friday night. So she was unhappy, but everybody else that called, they understand. A fire's a fire," Neal Said.

Owner Andrew Tirpok didn't want to go on camera, but told Action News he was heartbroken and will do everything he can to make it right for customers.

He says he's working with his insurance company to set up a hotline and protocol for people who've lost items in the fire.
Chuck Savelli's stepson sent him a video of what the blaze looked like before it was brought under control.

"Look at that," he said while showing us the video. "See that's really, that's engulfed."

The three-alarm fire was fought by more than 20 fire companies from around the area, who miraculously saved Central Wine Merchants liquor store just about 10 feet away.

"The wind brought it over, so it looked like it was our building also. But the way they had the water set up and the hoses, they just kept it contained. It was the most amazing thing," said clerk Cara Hamrah.

"It's a very nice family-run business and very sad to see that it burned. I learned that this morning," said Diane Papalski.

"We went through the same thing about 30 years ago here. We burned down in '84, so it's a tough rebuild, but they'll do it," said the owner of Central Wine, Steve Little.

While the cause of the fire is not yet known, investigators say at this point it does not appear to be suspicious.

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