Smoke filled the skies over 9th Avenue on Sunday morning when a mixed-use building housing apartments and the Bombay Grill House caught fire.

764 9th Avenue on Sunday. Photo: Charlie Todd

Authorities report that the blaze began on the fifth floor of 764 9th Avenue at 11:06am Sunday morning. The fire was quickly determined an “All Hands” matter and 12 units with 60 fire and EMS personnel total were sent to the scene. The FDNY told W42ST that the fire was still active and that one civilian was injured. The nature of the injury was not yet confirmed.

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The building has been the subject of complaints from Hell’s Kitchen residents for more than six months. Catie Savage, Co-Chair of HK49-54 Block Alliance, said that the area outside where Afghan Kebab House is shuttered had become a gasoline motorbike and e-bike “chop shop” where bikes were locked up outside and inside the building, presenting a fire hazard.

“We’ve been reaching out to the city and the fire department about this for months,” said Savage, adding that numerous locals and members of the Block Association had been raising the alarm. “We’ve all known it’s been an issue,” she added. “And now there’s a fire.” Savage shared with us correspondence dating back to September 2022 where the problem had been raised directly with Council Member Erik Bottcher’s office, the City Council and NYPD.

Bikes Chop Shop 9th Avenue
Bikes chained up outside the former premises of the Afghan Kebab House on 9th Avenue months before the fire. Photo: Catie Savage

CM Bottcher said on Instagram this afternoon: “Our office has repeatedly told city agencies this would happen if they didn’t address the illegal scooter chop-shop operating out of an apartment and spilling out into the hallways. The FDNY inspected the building in December and issued violations but enforcement has been weak. We are in communication with agencies in response to this situation and will report more information as it is available.”

9th Avenue remained closed as first responders worked on the fire. Photo: W42ST Reader

Brunch service at many local restaurants was disrupted. Briciola, around the corner on W51st Street, said that they were “closed for lunch” while saying “we salute the hardworking FDNY for their exemplary work in battling this apartment fire.”

The fire occurred across the street from Empanada Mama, which had its own major blaze in 2016.

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This is a developing story and will be updated as details become available.

The scene on 9th Avenue today after fire
FDNY at the scene of the fire on 9th Avenue today. Photo: Catie Savage

Join the Conversation


  1. What a complete failure across the board. Once again, local residents are left carrying the repercussions because local government can’t act accordingly.

  2. …”enforcement is weak” is ‘way too often the reason for so many disasters occurring all over the City. Taxpayers unite!

  3. People in 5S have been squatting there and using it for “illegal activities ” with numerous complaints from the actual tenants with nothing being done by local authorities. Now they set the building ablaze.

    1. This is not only an issue from 6 months ago as the article claims. 311 and Midtown North had been notified about this a long time ago.
      The city failed the other residents of this building and put the the neighborhood at risk while enabling theft of people’s bicycles, scooters, and even a handicapped person’s electric scooter.
      The owner of the building is also a major culprit as they did nothing to protect the tenants. They should also be held liable.

  4. Same bikes that aren’t regulated that blow through red lights and hop on the sidewalk without repercussion. Near misses to pedestrians daily. But good thing they put that extra pedestrian walkway in the street so we can get nailed but everything motorized.

  5. Bikes have a designated bike lane and still ride on the extra pedestrian walkway. Bikes are out of control on 9th Avenue. Oh and thanks for nothing adding the pedestrian walkway!

  6. The Hell’s Kitchen DO NOTHING GANG: Bottcher NYPD etc., etc., ALL communicated … but DID nothing! People in the neighborhood are tired of authorities telling us what they can’t do– they’ve proven themselves on that account over & over. Here, everyone of these entities is trying NOT to take the blame of ignoring repeated complaints. BLAME THEM!!!!!!!!!

  7. The NYPD has received BILLIONS extra in tax payer funds this year, and still isn’t enforcing the laws that protect New Yorkers. Instead of hiring and training officers to enforce law as that benefit New Yorkers, the NYPD hasn’t recruited or trained new officers. There are plenty of laws on the books that could have gotten rid of the hazards and prevented this tragedy. They harass peaceful protestors and play candy crush all day. They harass homeless people and people who hop train turnstiles while letting illegal motorbikes, their crackhead chop shops, illegal parkers and dangerous drivers get away with making or neighborhood unpleasant to go through life in. We need more accountability from our law enforcement and they need to start enforcing laws that benefit our community and stop wasting our money.

  8. There have been loud motorized/dirtbikes ripping and tearing between the ikebana zen and norma street sheds. Extremely loud and disruptive, unclear what the individuals were doing in their loops around the neighborhood. Saw on multiple occasions weeks apart and surprised no enforcement.

  9. It was my apartment that caught fire and I must say New York is filled with nothing but judgmental idiots.. it was not an illegal chop shop it was a hobby that got out of hand and if anybody hasn’t noticed we slowed down a lot with the bikes and the mopeds.. and it wasn’t a biker or a moped or even this so called illegal chop shop that we supposedly had going on that even caused the fire.. it was a scum Lord who hasn’t done any work in an apartment for over 30 years that caused this fire.. I wasn’t bothering nobody I was not out there selling or doing drugs I respected everybody as long as I was respected, no children or animals were getting hurt in the process of what I was doing.. for all you people that like to order your food out and have food delivered you wouldn’t have your food delivered if I wasn’t out there fixing all the delivery bikes and scooters.. do you think I’m going to put my 11 year old son’s life in jeopardy after just getting custody of him back? That might be some s*** y’all might do but that’s not what I’m going to do so before you guys start judging somebody maybe you should look in the mirror.. and everybody’s so neighborly instead of asking us if we need anything any type of help or assistance or even if we’re okay we literally lost everything we own for something we had no control over.. we contacted the super more than once about these ongoing electrical issues and he hasn’t done anything to fix it.. I hope this doesn’t happen to any of you because then you’ll see what it’s like to be in my shoes..

    1. Thank you. If, in this instance, W42ST were doing their job, they would have reported the fire chief’s news conference where he CLEARLY STATED that it wasn’t the bikes that caused the fire. That said, those batteries have caused many many fires, even one, I believe, the same day up in Inwood – this from the Fire Chief.

    2. Jennifer – nice try trying to disguise your illegal activities as a “hobby” when there is plenty of proof on the circulating tiktok documenting your behavior as well as your fellow “hobbyists” and your activities. There are plenty of videos of you, Hillbilly, and rest of the gang harassing people on the sidewalk which you took by force as your personal body shop for your “hobby” which included shooting up and passing out.

      That’s also mentioned in the referenced video below.

      You have a lot of gall posting here and showing your face. You must be worried that authorities will come after you.

  10. Citibikes aren’t for deliveries and I have many pics of them “repairing” them. Along with so many photos and videos of their shenanigans. Landlord is complicit but not for her claims. Shame they now have a kid in wrapped up into this. Lobbies aren’t for repairing bikes and you need a license for that. Look forward to sharing my story and pictures with all.

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