Owner Jayesh Mehta left in a state of shock seeing pictures of business he’s owned since 2018 burning
Saffron Banquet Hall, an Indian American owned restaurant in Manville, New Jersey exploded last week, adding to the list of several structures left to burn while being surrounded by floodwater from Hurricane Ida.
However, there were no injuries following the explosion at the restaurant on South Main Street early Friday, NBC New York reported citing a spokesperson with the borough’s Office of Emergency Management.
A video posted on social media appeared to show the aftermath. The banquet hall, often used as a wedding venue, burst into flames around 2 a.m. Friday and NJ Certified Emergency Manager John Bentz said the blaze couldn’t be accessed due to flooding.
Read: Four Indian Americans killed in Ida floods in New York region (September 6, 2021)
Residents from as far as neighboring towns claim they heard a loud explosion, NJ.com reported.
Jayesh Mehta, the owner of The Saffron, has only seen the flames and flooding in pictures and videos shared by neighbors, he told NJ Advance Media on Friday morning.
The feeling of powerlessness as the business he’s owned since June 2018 burns has left Mehta in a state of shock.
Firefighters were unable to access the fire, which is surrounded by a flooded parking lot and appeared gas-fed.
“I don’t know what to do and how to deal with something like this,” said Mehta. “I haven’t had any such disasters like that in my life. Until when it was flooded and the water was inside, I was okay.”
“I knew I had to repair it and fix it. Now, I don’t know. Something like this has never happened to me. I don’t know how to deal with it. I’ve had a sleepless night.”
Mehta, who lives in Edison, has been unable to reach his business, blocked by flood waters on all sides, he said.
Events were scheduled at the banquet hall Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, he said. As soon as he’s able to, Mehta plans to go to The Saffron to assess the damage.
A few hours before the explosion, all the flooding that covered nearby North Main Street had finally receded after it essentially cut the 10,000 residents of Manville from the rest of New Jersey with chest-high water levels on Thursday, NBC said.
With luggage and pets in tow, residents were walking in knee-deep water to evacuate the town through the Main Street bridge.