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Photo by Ellis Kaplan
By Sarina Trangle

A Bellerose resident said it would be a long road back to work after her hot dog truck burst into flames Monday morning.

Marie Emmi, who has sold franks, knishes and sausages at a Nassau shopping center for three decades, pulled into the Mobil Gas station, at 252-02 Union Turnpike just after 10 a.m. Emmi said she noticed smoke billowing around her when the gas station attendee, Hayad Khan, began fueling her truck. Shock paralyzed her.

Khan pulled Emmi out of the vehicle before flames engulfed the truck.

“He saved my life,” Emmi said. “I was just watching that flame. I couldn’t move.”

FDNY officials said the department dispatched two trucks and two engines to the gas station at 10:15 a.m. Emergency personnel blocked off Union Turnpike and Little Neck Parkway while firefighters battled the blaze. The fire was contained by 11 a.m.

Officials have not determined what sparked the flames.

Nobody required medical attention, but Emmi says she is still shaken and unsure of how to resurrect her Marie’s Hot Dog business.

“I feel very lost,” Emmi said. “I’m afraid to even put gas in my own car.”

But Emmi said she misses her customers and is determined to return to the Lake Success Shopping Center in New Hyde Park. Emmi has kept Marie’s Hot Dogs stationed there since she purchased the food truck business from a friend.

“I have to start all over again,” Emmi said. “There’s a lot of money involved — I have to do my license. I have to get my truck inspected.”

It will cost Emmi at least $15,000 to buy a new truck and revive her childhood dream.

“When I was little, every time I seen a hot dog truck, I used to say to myself, ‘Gee, maybe one day I’ll get a truck,’” Emmi said.

Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-260-4546 or by e-mail at strangle@cnglocal.com.

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