It started as a birthday celebration and finished with a rush to the exits for Alex Fyon and his friends this past Motzei Shabbos.

They were sitting in the VIP room in the back of Chops Resto Bar, buy a room partially enclosed in glass. A friend of Alex was celebrating another birthday with 15 of her friends at the tables near the entrance.

Alex had just finished paying his bill when suddenly there was a commotion in the front of the restaurant. “Screams, pharmacy shrieks, physician ” he said, “people jumping back in a panic.” Alex smelled the pungent scent of gas.

“We looked up and saw huge flames,” says Alex, “they seemed to come out of nowhere.”

Actually, as Alex would later find out from his friend, a man in a black hoodie and a bandana covering most of his face had run into the restaurant, held up a Molotov cocktail, threw it on the ground, and fled.

The girls in the front didn’t understand what was happening. Then they saw huge, leaping flames.

“Thank G-d he didn’t throw the firebomb at the table in front of him where 15 people were sitting,” says Alex, “or there would have been serious injuries.”

Everyone was in a panic, and rushed toward the back exit. The manager guided his terrified customers and staff, around 30 to 35 people, out the back door.

“I was the last one out” says Alex, “when I went around to the front of the restaurant I saw that the sprinkler system had turned on.”

The party of 15 had rushed out in a hurry, leaving their belongings behind. Most of their things got really wet. Car keys, phones, jackets.

“The important thing is that everyone got out safe, Baruch Hashem,” says Alex.

Police and firefighters responded very fast. Faster than Alex thought they would. It took them under four minutes to arrive. While they waited for the firefighters to put out the flames so they could retrieve what was left behind, two guys who were at Sprinklz wandered over, and Alex chatted with them.

“They told me that they saw two guys in black hoodies run into the restaurant, then back out and around the corner.”

Alex confirms that there were security cameras mounted in the restaurant, but doubts that the police will get an image they can work with.

By Sunday afternoon, Chops was reopened and already serving customers.

So would you go back?

“I’ll go back,” says Alex, “I’m not afraid of it happening again.”

By Zvi Hershcovich –

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