A three-alarm fire tore through the Old Path Village shopping complex in Framingham early Saturday morning, destroying several businesses, including a popular diner.
No one was injured in the fire at the shopping complex on Concord Street, which started just before 2 a.m., according to deputy fire chief Mark Leporati. The building was empty at the time, he said.
All of the businesses in the buildings were destroyed by the fire, he said.
The cause of the blaze remains unknown, but it has been deemed accidental, he said.
Karen Fiore, co-owner of J&M Diner, was emotional about the loss of the family-run business.
“It’s been an unbelievable day,” Fiore said, when reached by phone Saturday afternoon.
Fiore said that she had been amazed by the outpouring of support the business had received on its Facebook page, with customers sharing how much they loved the restaurant.
“People don’t often get to hear that what they do makes a difference,” said Fiore, who owns the restaurant with her husband.
The family plans on finding a new location for the restaurant, though she did not know where it would be or when it would open, Fiore said.
The diner, which opened in 1998, was well-known in town, according to several customers.
“It’s really strange to say, but it really feels like a death in the family,” said Brad Morse, a Southborough resident who considered himself a regular of the diner. “It’s that kind of level of pain.”
Morse says he’s offered to help the family find a new spot, and is confident that they will bounce back.
“The Fiores are a very, very tight-knit, strong family. They’re a strong group. There’s no doubt in my mind that they’ll be able to overcome this,” he said.
“David and Karen would cook for you like family. They’d always greet you by name, know what you like,” said Perry Bent, a longtime customer who once owned a gift shop in the same shopping complex.
“It was a really family-like, hole in the wall-type place. It just felt like everyone knew your name,” said William Reinertson, who said he had been a patron for at least five years.
Other businesses in the building included Do Dance Ballet & Fitness, LisaKen Studio, and several others.
Leporati said he believed the fire started in the center of the building, but did not know in which business it began. It weakened the roof, he said, which was then blown off by heavy winds.
Crews from the nearby communities of Ashland, Natick, Southborough, Sudbury, and Wayland were called in to cover the town’s stations while the Framingham Fire Department was occupied with the shopping complex fire.Jacob Carozza can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jacobcarozza.