Smoke filled the skies over 9th Avenue on Sunday morning when a mixed-use building housing apartments and the Bombay Grill House caught fire.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
This is a developing story and will be updated as details become available.