MANVILLE —  The owner of the Saffron Banquets in Manville that exploded last week is hoping to rebuild.

The building on South Main Street in Manville exploded in flames around 2 a.m. on Sept. 3 and was completely destroyed because floodwaters from Ida prevented firefighters from responding.

"The flood caused all the damages to my banquet hall in Manville. Somehow the flood triggered the gas line underneath and it got burned to ashes," owner Jayesh Mehta said in a Facebook Live from the property.

"I would love to build something new there," Mehta told New Jersey 101.5, adding that he would raise it off the ground as a way to prevent future flooding. Last week's flood was the fourth one Mehta has been through in the past three years as owner of the former Rhythms club.

"I would maybe make it closer to the road. The water was all over the place so it would not have made a difference," Mehta said.

Mehta called the club his "baby" in the Facebook Live because he had to put a lot of work into reopening the facility in 2018.

"The previous owners had not done anything. It was closed for four years. They had bought it at foreclosure so you can imagine it's condition. So I cleaned up the whole place, built the whole place. There was indoor cleanup, taking down the wallpaper, putting in new furniture and the chandeliers, which I bought myself," Mehta said.

"Every fork, every spoon, every knife everything was mine,"  Mehta said.

Mehta wants to rebuild the club as it was doing well especially well after Gov. Phil Murphy ended his mandates on the size of indoor gatherings in place because of the pandemic. And the club was more than a wedding facility.

"It's a beautiful big place. I did all the festivals, Sweet 16s, baby showers, even funeral services," Mehta said.

He is waiting to hear from the Federal Emergency Management Agency about his applications for financial help.

"I hope and pray that the insurance company comes along well. What is remaining is the grants from the governor. I am hoping and praying. This is the first time in my life that this has happened. I have nothing else to lose now."

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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