May 16, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
The owners of a Woodside restaurant whose business was destroyed in a fire last month are calling on the public for financial help so they can rebuild.
Sher Ahmad Zaraei, who owns Texas Chicken and Pizza fast-food restaurant, launched a GoFundMe Friday following a fire that ripped through his family’s 64-01 Broadway establishment on April 24.
The overnight fire gutted the fast-food premises and also damaged two adjacent businesses – a barbershop and a liquor store. The FDNY sent out about 25 units and more than 100 firefighters to extinguish the blaze. There were no injuries.
The fundraiser aims to raise $10,000, which would help cover the cost of reopening the business.
Zaraei told the Queens Post that the blaze was sparked by an electrical fire in the basement of his restaurant. The fire caused extensive damage to the premises destroying seating and fittings, he said, while a number of walls were knocked down by firefighters to contain the blaze.
Two of his walk-in freezers are now inoperable while six smaller freezers were also ruined, he said.
Zaraei, who is originally from Afghanistan, said that his entire family worked at the restaurant and relied on it as their primary source of income.
“My father would always work double shifts and was never home on holidays because he always wanted to be there for his customers,” Zaraei wrote on the GoFundMe page. “I am pretty embarrassed to write about this but we are desperate at the moment.”
Zaraei told the Queens Post that his family has been out of work since the inferno but plan to reopen as soon as they can come up with enough funds.
“With this unexpected fire… it will probably take months for us to be back to normal,” Zaraei said.
Zaraei posted a number of images to the GoFundMe page showing the extent of the fire damage, with debris strewn across the floor and some of the walls destroyed.
“Any help would be appreciated, frankly, we are devastated,” he wrote.