STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Quick thinking by Mike Moudatsos Jr. and the employees at Mike Jr.’s Oakwood Diner that he owns helped contain a fire at the restaurant next door on October 11 before the Fire Department arrived
Moudatsos led the way to the Island Taste restaurant in the strip mall at the corner of Amboy Road and Clarke Avenue.
“The metal security gate was down and Island Taste was closed for business on Columbus Day Monday as the owner cleaned up from the fire that damaged the kitchen and the roof but left the dining area virtually unscathed. The fire was called at 3:46 p.m. on Sunday and the FDNY sent four units to bring the blaze under control at 4:28 p.m. with no injuries, an FDNY spokesman said,” according to the Staten Island Advance.
“Just all in a day’s work,” Moudatsos said when he responded to a call for help from a woman he believed was the wife of the owner of his neighbor’s store
“I was just helping her out because she asked me,” Moudatsos said. It was only after the fire was out that he thought “If they go up in flames I do, too, so I didn’t want that to happen.”
“Moudatsos said that the woman rushed into his restaurant on Sunday afternoon yelling that there was a fire next door and she needed help with the extinguisher. Moudatsos ran next door and saw the flames. The fire extinguisher was on the floor of Island Taste, so Moudatsos says he sprang into action. Moudatsos said he emptied two extinguishers — including one from his own restaurant — as he tried to contain the blaze that would appear to be extinguished only to suddenly rekindle with flames that shot through the false ceiling and roof,” the Advance reported.
Tomasene Moudatsos helped. She is married to Mike Moudatsos’ cousins. His employee Danielle Valitutto brought the two children of Island Taste’s owners to safety.