The Citibank fire on 111th street and Broadway was still smoldering from a hole in the street on Sunday morning, more than 24 hours after it began, said Kate Groob, who lives right across the street. Fire trucks were still at the scene, and the hole in the roof was even bigger than it was on Saturday night, she said. Broadway’s southbound lanes remained closed near the fire. We also hear cars on 111th near the fire will be towed (if they haven’t been already), so move them immediately!
Firefighters had to evacuate the building on Saturday when the floors started to cave in, and they broke open the sidewalk to pump foam into the basement, where the fire started. On Sunday morning, they also apparently restarted the sprinklers, which shot a thin stream of water through the hole in the roof, as seen below.
Several businesses nearby were also closed down, including The Heights Bar and Grill and Samad’s Deli next door. City Councilman Mark Levine tells us that Samad’s and the Heights expect to open “in several weeks.” Vareli also got flooded with water, but planned to open by Monday. Bankstreet Books had cancelled its readings on Saturday.
Levine said the FDNY was monitoring CO2 levels in the nearby residential building, and he tweeted around midnight that levels were “back down to zero,” so no evacuation was needed.
Levine and Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell, who lives right nearby, were monitoring the scene for much of the day. In fact, O’Donnell was out there at 5:30 a.m. just as the FDNY was arriving, a la Cory Booker. Here’s a photo of the two of them:
At Morningside Heights fire scene with Assm. @DanielJODonnell, who lives on block and was awaken by smoke at 5:30am! pic.twitter.com/SQARbdnsUZ
— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) January 12, 2014
There’s a strong likelihood that the Citibank will have to be demolished, and the site is unlikely to hold a two-story building afterward, readers have noted. Interestingly, the site appears to have held a similar (much more attractive) two-story building at the turn of the century. Groob also found a photo from 1910 in the archives of The Museum of the City of New York. It held a restaurant then called Kenelly’s. (A commenter says this restaurant was actually on the opposite corner.)
Hi, thanks for all the great work you do covering the neighborhood. Making sure you know it’s Samad’s deli (not zahad).
Disappointing that no one from Citibank has mobilized a response team to reach out to customers with valuables in the vault. Obviously there is little known and much to learn but sad that the branch manager or Citibank management cannot manage to get out a list of box holders and start dialing/emailing to at the very least notify us that “your bank burned down” and that they are aware we have concerns.
This may be a silly question, but did the money in the vaults get burned up?
Bank vaults can and have withstood a lot but we won’t know until they can get to it, assess it, and try to open it. Of course, that presumes the site can be made safe to enter.
the remark about the taller building that may go up on the site makes me wonder if this is another classic Upper West Side fire aimed at freeing up space for more construction. I remember those from my childhood. The article doesn’t explain how this fire got started or say whether the cause has been determined. Any info on this?
As another poster notes, curious at the strength of this fire that destroys a low-rise building – and now “conveniently” an opportunity for high-rise development.
It seems that there have been a couple of other fires at low-rise buildings over the past year or so…..
Is there any evidence of suspicion , arson?