By Howard Koplowitz
Arson was labeled the cause of a fire last week at a Kew Gardens Hills kosher supermarket, preventing the new store from having its scheduled grand opening last Thursday, a 107th Precinct community affairs officer said Monday.
Seasons Supermarket, at 68-18 Main St., was supposed to open April 27, but the fire broke out two days before, which on Passover.
Nobody has been arrested in the case, the officer said, and a Fire Department spokesman said the blaze is “still under investigation.”
“It was arson,” the 107th officer said. “Apparently, they took off the vents off the top of the roof and poured gasoline in the vents.”
The officer said the supermarket had an effective fire prevention system that helped knock out the blaze.
“It was more water damage than anything else,” the officer said.
Mayer Gold, owner of the supermarket, said surveillance video showed a car pulling into the parking lot of the store around 4 a.m. April 25 and two men getting out before setting up a ladder next to the cameras.
“They couldn’t be stupider in that respect,” Gold said.
The supermarket owner said the water damage set back the grand opening by about four weeks and he estimated damages to be $500,000.
“We are going to focus on getting the store open,” Gold said, saying he could not say whether he believed the timing of the blaze was intentional.
“It’s truly speculation, and that’s not going to help anyone,” he said.
Rabbi Zvi Gluck said he was helping the supermarket get off the ground.
“It’s tragic that something like this can happen to a store that hasn’t even opened yet,” Gluck said.
Gluck said the supermarket had operated for about 15 years under the name Super Sold and that the business had been bought by Gold, who used to be the store’s manager.
Gluck said he could not say with any certainty whether anti-Semitism was to blame for the arson.
“It’s hard to tell. There’s no indications of it,” he said.
A call placed to the supermarket ended in a recorded message of a voice saying the opening had been delayed “due to circumstances outside of our control.”
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.