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Alteri's to rebuild after Valentine's fire

From the ashes of a cold February tragedy, the owner of Alteri's in Glenmont hopes to rebuild.

A fire broke out early Valentine's Day at the Alteri's Italian American Restaurant on Route 9W, gutting the building's interior.

Investigators said the fire, which was reported at 1:40 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, was caused by electrical issues and was accidental. Although fire officials deemed the structure safe, the building and its contents appear to be a total loss.

From what I can see everything is burned, said owner Harvey Quinn.

Route 9W was shut down for nearly six hours, while National Grid employees shut down power to the street. Bethlehem police have reported no injuries.

"I got a call from the alarm company around quarter to 2, and they told me there was a fire," Quinn said. "I was down there by quarter after 2 and there was a lot of smoke, smoke just pouring out from the back and then you could see the flames coming out from the roof and windows."

Fire departments from Selkirk, Elsmere and Delmar responded to extinguish the fire. Members from Bethlehem Volunteer Ambulance, Delmar Rescue Squad and Albany County Paramedics also responded.

Bethlehem police issued the following statement:

"Through their investigation and based upon the physical evidence present, the cause of the fire is officially labeled as accidental/electrical. The area of origin has been determined to be the rear of the building."

There were no injuries reported in the incident.

"It's a pretty scary situation," Quinn said, "but I hope to rebuild, and in the best situation, be back in six months. Bethlehem is a great area, and the people are fantastic down here."

Quinn has been a vocal small business owner in Bethlehem and was at the center of a zoning dispute last June that involved a lunchtime banner displayed at the restaurant that town officials said violated town code. Quinn was cited for the banner and could have faced jail time under the former zoning regulations.

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