BLOOMING GROVE (VINnews/Sandy Eller) – Just hours after his newly built grocery store was consumed by flames, a Highland Mills man is filled, not with shock or heartache, but gratitude.Join our WhatsApp group
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In an exclusive interview with VIN News, mintleaf Kosher Market owner Joel Roth relived the moments when he realized that his store was on fire. As previously reported on VIN News, the South Blooming Grove store was ravaged by a three alarm fire at approximately 10:20 this morning.
“All of a sudden, flames and smoke just started to come out from one of the exhaust fans by the deli area,” recalled Roth. “It was split second, and the first thing I did was to run to shut the gas line from the building.”
As customers were rushed out of the store, Roth turned off the building’s electrical system and realized that his teenage daughter, Goldy, who was helping out in the store on an off day from school, was upstairs in mintleaf’s office.
Not seeing his daughter anywhere outside the store with others who had evacuated the building, Roth ran back into the smoke-filled store in an effort to find Goldy.
“I tried to run in from the front,” said Roth. “I got to the center of the aisle but it was impossible to pass with such thick smoke hitting me in the face. I ran back out and tried to go in from the back of the building, but I opened the door and there was so much smoke.”
Roth’s terror was short-lived, with someone telling him that Goldy was safely out of the building. Reunited with his daughter, Roth asked her to tell him what she remembered happening.
“She told me that she was on the phone with a customer when, all of a sudden, it starting raining down foam insulation like a wind coming out of the attic,” said Roth. “She ran to the front of the store and there was heavy smoke, so she ran to the back of the store and was able to get out.”
Roth recalled how, when he first realized what was happening, the idea that his store was on fire during the busiest season of the year didn’t bother him at all.
“I knew that it is in G-d’s hands and it is only for the good, because there is no such thing as anything bad happening,” recalled Roth. “This place took me over a year to build and we had a lot of obstacles along the way, but we overcame them every single time. I knew right away that if Hashem brought me to this point, he wasn’t going to drop me right here.”
As the fire investigation continues, Roth hopes to have mintleaf up and running in a matter of days in order to serve his customers in the final week before Pesach. He plans to have a tent up by tomorrow, with shelves brought in over the weekend so that he can restock for a mid-week opening. But more important than groceries and inventory, is the fact that his daughter was saved from harm.
“The store can be replaced, but in my mind, my daughter was reborn today,” said Roth. “No parent should ever feel that feeling of knowing their daughter is trapped in a fire.”