In 1978, an extremely wealthy Italian-American scrap metal entrepreneur named Lorenzo Fabiano opened the restaurant Pizza Town two blocks from Penn Station. Fabiano had devised an experimental, hydrogen-fired pizza oven which operated at temperature of over 11,000 degrees Fahrenheit. In theory, it could cook thirty pizzas in less than five seconds. Pizza Town was to be the oven’s proving ground, and Fabiano boasted that within five years, every pizza oven in America would be of his new design.
The moment it was switched on, the Lorenzo Oven exploded instantly. The building was levelled and 19 people killed. Fabiano vowed to rebuild, and in 1979, New Pizza Town opened on the same site. Fabiano had redesigned his oven, which worked for several hours before erupting in a massive, uncontrollable fire. Fabiano considered his safety advances a success, as the building was only partially destroyed this time and only three lives were lost. New Pizza Town II exploded the next year, killing only one employee.
Fabiano’s pizza ovens went on to destroy nine more sequentially-numbered restaurants on the same site. “New Pizza Town X”, opened in 2002, was often mistaken for a strip club, so Fabiano reset the number to I in 2007. A blackened metal plaque inside the restaurant serves as a memorial to the 75 people who have died in Pizza Town restaurants to date.