Pair of Massive Fires Take Out Two Elizabeth Landmarks

Singer Fire Elizabeth
Singer Factory fire. Image via @joe.normal/Instagram.

The largest city in Union County had a tough weekend as a sprawling historic industrial complex and an Elizabeth pizzeria that has been in business for over 100 years both suffered devastating fires.

The first fire could be seen all the way from New York City and involved the Singer Sewing Factory on Trumbull Street. The oldest parts of the complex date to 1873 and were initially home to the Singer Sewing Machine Manufacturing Company during the heyday of that company.

Per local officials, the largest building at the property caught fire in the early hours of January 5. The entire complex was thankfully empty when the blaze started and no reported injuries, but dozens of businesses that call the property home will be displaced for the foreseeable future.

Singer Factory Elizabeth
Singer Sewing Factory. Image via Pinterest.

The former factory, which spans well over one million square feet, is just south of Newark Liberty International Airport and across from the Jersey Gardens Mall. Public records indicate that the buildings were sold last year for $1 million.

The massive fire is the second time the property has gone up in flames, according to the International Sewing Machine Collectors’ Society. A large blaze also broke out at the complex back in 1890, destroying the largest building in the complex at the time.

Santillos Pizza Elizabeth
Elizabeth Fire Department responds to the fire at Santillo’s. Image via Santillo’s/Facebook.

While there hasn’t been an announcement regarding the path forward for the Singer property, a second building that caught fire in Elizabeth the next day did receive some positive news. Local pizza landmark Santillo’s also went up in flames on South Broad Street, with the property’s historic pizza oven suffering some significant damage.

Santillos Pizza Fire Elizabeth
Image via Santillo’s/Facebook.

Santillo’s opened in 1918 and has fed the local community and a few big names too. Vince Vaughn stopped by the restaurant last year while filming his upcoming movie Nonna’s, while Elizabeth native and Top Chef host Tom Colicchio was among those who showed support for the business on social media following the fire.

Owner Al Santillo, the third generation to run the shop, did share a positive development with yesterday. The building that houses the famous pizzeria won’t need to be demolished per city officials, and there is hope that the massive brick oven at the property can be restored.


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