Underground Fire Forces Mall Evacuation

Huntington Manor Fire Department responded to the Walt Whitman Shops behind Cheesecake Factory Monday afternoon to fight a fire in an underground  transformer. (Photo by Steve Silverman)

Huntington Manor Fire Department responded to the Walt Whitman Shops behind Cheesecake Factory Monday afternoon to fight a fire in an underground  transformer. (Photo by Steve Silverman)

An underground transformer fire forced the evacuation of portions of the Walt Whitman Shops Monday, fire officials confirmed.

According to a mall spokesperson, the Cheesecake Factory and Panera Bread restaurants, which are not connected to the main mall building, were evacuated as a result of the fire, along with Bloomingdale’s. Police said the fire was reported by a 911 call at 5:15 p.m., but firefighters were already on the scene.

The spokesperson said that neither the Bloomongdale’s store nor its occupants were in any danger and were primarily evacuated because electricity had to be turned off. The power was also turned off in the Cheesecake Factory, Panera Bread and a vacant building that was formerly Legal Sea Foods, which was nearest to the fire.

Huntington Manor Fire Department, under the direction of chief Frank McQuade, led the response, with assistance from the Melville Fire Department and Huntington FD providing standby at headquarters.

-LIVOTI