Longmeadow fire destroys 58-year business, Armata’s Market burned days before Thanksgiving

Local News

LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – The iconic business, Armata’s Market located on Shaker Road in Longmeadow was destroyed in a fire Tuesday morning.

Armata’s has been a locally owned market since 1963 that was open daily offering the community homemade bakery items, such as cakes and pies, breads, pastries, as well as turkeys and all the fixings to go along the tables on Thanksgiving.

“It’s our lives flashing before our eyes. My girls all grew up going to Armata’s. You need milk? Go to Armata’s. It’s so sad,” said Carmine Santaniello, a baker at Armata’s.

Shopping carts outside of Armata’s, usually filled with Thanksgiving food this time of year, now surrounded by the building’s burned rubble. “It’s horrible. Just horrible. All the things we got going for people. It’s a total loss,” said Santaniello, who was inside the bakery when the fire began. “The produce guy comes screaming, ‘Carmine, Carmine, Carmine!’ He said, ‘get out of here, there’s a fire!'” Santaniello got out okay, still holding his apron as the fire burned hours later.

Longmeadow Fire Chief John Deerborn said the store makes hundreds of Thanksgiving meals every year. He even saw them being prepared when he went shopping at Armata’s Monday. People who live in this Longmeadow neighborhood told 22News employees at the nearly 60 year-old store have become family.

“All the employees, I went up to them and gave them a hug. They are family. I would be at this store 3 times a day between me and my kids,” said Sue Woods, a customer.

“I’ve been here 35 years. The family always shopped here, at Armata’s. It’s very sad. It’s like an icon in the town,” said customer Jerry Taylor.

In a Facebook post from Armata’s Market, they thank all the first responders who were called to the fire and everyone who contacted them to offer well wishes. The market will announce the options available for Thanksgiving orders.

The market offered prepared meals for Thanksgiving that were scheduled to be picked up on Wednesday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Some of the meals included a cooked turkey, gravy, rolls, sides such as stuffing, mashed potatoes, butternut squash, candied carrots, and a homemade apple or pumpkin pie.

The homemade pies were a staple to many who knew the market. The available homemade desserts Amata’s had made available for Thanksgiving included, apple pie, pumpkin pie, double chocolate cream pie, pecan pie, and assorted cheesecakes.

“First off we would like to extend our thanks to the all of the First Responders from the surrounding communities who have responded to this devastating fire. Also, to our friends who customers who have reached out and sent their well wishes they are much appreciated,” Armata’s Market stated in the Facebook post. “While a difficult morning, we are grateful that no one was hurt, and all employees are safe.” 

With nearly 400 comments posted just before 3 p.m., the community is offering their help, prayers, and sharing how well they knew the business.

Longmeadow resident Carrie Gatton told 22News, “I’ve been shopping here forever, this is like our little villages right here so It’s really devastating.”

Crews were still working to put out the last of the fire more than 10 hours later. No injuries have been reported, relief for employees of nearby businesses who are in disbelief.

“I go to Armana’s everyday,” said Ica Miles Mendiola, an employee of Li’s Brothers restaurant. “It’s just super sad to see those businesses go down because of the fire.”

Thirteen different fire department were involved in the operation. The State Fire Marshall and Longmeadow Fire Department are working to determine the cause of this fire.

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