img_6246-2Firefighters attach a hose to a hydrant near the corner of Newman Springs Road and Broad Street while the bowling alley burns in the distance.

Memory Bowling owner Alex Melamuduv tells the Asbury Park Press that he intends to rebuild the Shrewsbury facility, which was reduced to ashes in a June 5 fire.

In article published in Sunday’s edition, Melamuduv also recounts how he discovered the fire above a drop ceiling while a birthday party was underway at the alley.

From the Press:

Melamuduv was trying to broadcast a birthday message over the alley’s radio at about 11:15 a.m. June 5 when he heard a popping sound in the drop ceiling tiles above his head.

“It sounded like grains of rice dropping on a pan. I thought it was raining outside and that there was a leak,” he said.

When he peaked inside the ceiling, however, he saw tiny flashes of orange and knew immediately it was fire — not water — causing the sound. As an employee called the fire department, he ushered out customers there for the birthday party and members of a senior citizen bowling league.

Melamuduv emptied a fire extinguisher into the ceiling, but it was already too late. The ceiling tiles had begun to melt and flames were sprouting up in the three-foot gap between the ceiling and the roof.

Melamuduv tells the Press he intends to rebuild quickly.

“When something like this happens, you realize how many people you’ve touched in a positive way through a place like this,” said Melamuduv, who purchased the business five years ago.

“To me, this wasn’t a business; it was a way of life. We spent so many hours building this place back up to be a friendly place where people could drop the kids off and go shopping,” he said. “How do you not rebuild something like that?”