Still No Cause for Fire That Destroyed Popular Diner - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Still No Cause for Fire That Destroyed Popular Diner



    Bensalem firefighters extinguished a fire at the popular Bensalem diner, Nifty Fifty's. After the flames finally were put out, some firefighters were having symptoms of heat exhaustion and exertion. NBC10's Katy Zachry reports. (Published Friday, July 19, 2013)

    Investigators know where a fire that destroyed a popular area began but they don't know exactly what caused the blaze.

    Bensalem Fie Rescue tweeted late last night that after "sifting through the charred remains of the Nifty Fifties" for two days that "the area the fire originated has been located but the exact cause is still undetermined..."

    Flames broke out just as employees served the first diners of the day a little before 6:45 a.m. Friday at Nifty Fifty’s on Street Road in Bensalem, Pa.

    Employees said they first spotted smoke coming from a ceiling fan inside the 1950s-themed restaurant.

    "The employees actually tried to put it out but once it's up in the ceiling it spread right through the roof," said co-owner Leo McGlynn.

    Two alarms responded to the fire as firefighters battled not only the flames but morning temperatures already in the 80s. Bensalem firefighters needed to shuttle in and out of the shade to stay cool.

    Dispatchers said that there were no reports of injuries.A side-by-side comparison shows what Nifty Fifty's in Bensalem, Pa. looked like before and after the July 19, 2013 blaze. The investigation into the blaze continues.

    This is one of five area Nifty Fifty's. According to federal prosecutors, the local chain's owners, Robert Mattei and McGlynn, pleaded guilty last year in the weeks after they and three others were charged in a tax evasion case and are awaiting sentencing.

    Investigators say the owners conspired with two employees -- Joseph Donnelly and Brian Welsh -- and accountant (and Mattei's daughter) Elena Ruiz to keep cash from customers without reporting it as income -- keeping millions from the government in the process. All the co-defendants also pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

    McGlynn says he plans to rebuild.


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