Six Injured in Early-Morning Fire on Columbus Avenue


Photo by Jason Haber.

A fire broke out on the first floor of a six-story building at 489 Columbus Avenue between 83rd and 84th Street early Monday morning, resulting in six injuries, according to an FDNY spokesman. Columbus was shut down for multiple blocks around the fire.

The fire was called in at 7:04 a.m. at the building, which houses Indian restaurant Ashoka. It’s not clear how the fire began; the cause is under investigation, according to FDNY.

Twenty-five units with 106 firefighters responded. The fire was declared under control as of 8:05 a.m.

Two tenants of the building, sisters holding trembling little dogs, huddled across the street in a schoolyard. A “kind woman” had provided coffee.

“We live on the fifth floor,” one sister said. “The whole building was filled with smoke. As they evacuated us I saw three hoses going down into Ashoka’s basement.”

NEWS | 18 comments | permalink
    1. SHG says:

      I am away. Any news on people injured?

      • Nev says:

        Minor injuries, the whole thing seemed quite minor for the number of emergency personnel. better safe than sorry though

        • UWSmaven says:

          I just walked by there… Ashoka seems a total loss. Fire chief on duty told me that they believe — awaiting fire marshal’s report — that the fire started way in the back in the basement of Ashoka and rapidly spread up through the building. No serious injuries, which he said was a great relief. He said the fire was contained only that building, but to my eye I’m sure the apartments above will not be habitable for some time.

        • drew says:

          Minor how would you like to go back to your apartment that is soaking wet with carpets and appliances ruined?

          • Nev says:

            oh ok so serious injuries to the carpets (do people have carpets in NYC apartments?) but minor injuries to the people.

    2. Judy Harris says:

      Fire was in Ashoka Indian restaurant; window completely smashed

    3. EricaC says:

      What I found a little unnerving was the presence of Haz-Mat trucks and mobile respiratory units. It was a very big scene – I’m not sure why it required such a huge response, but I’m glad the injuries were minor. J hope that goes for pets as well as people.

      • B.B. says:

        Last paragraph containing statements from building residents contains answer to your query.

        “We live on the fifth floor,” one sister said. “The whole building was filled with smoke. As they evacuated us I saw three hoses going down into Ashoka’s basement.”

        Mobile respiratory equipment for FDNY, residents and anyone else affected by smoke inhalation. Far more effective and with better outcomes to treat persons at scene if necessary as opposed to transporting to local ER.

        Hazmat equipment because commercial businesses may and often do contain all sorts of substances that release nasty fumes, and or otherwise can be dangerous in a fire.

        From chlorine based dishwashing detergents to various other things, you don’t know what could have been in the cellar or otherwise associated with this business.

      • Lisa says:

        Because it’s a wealthy neighborhood.

        • MaryO says:

          B.B. has a very high quality answer. The response is the same in any neighborhood, given the same fire conditions.

        • NAOMI says:

          FDNY does not discriminate by neighborhood. There is a fixed protocol for the type of fire it is. The entire building was in danger of catching fire. They are exercising their normal level of caution.

        • B.B. says:

          Has nothing to do with wealth. In addition to my previous response you don’t know what you’ll find in these old buildings.

          Asbestos was liberally and widely used for insulation and fire proofing purposes. This went on for large part of the prior century, right up well into post war period.

          Emergency response today is all about sending what might be needed. This rather than scrambling around after the fact with calls to send this or that piece of equipment to the scene.

    4. Larry K says:

      Looks like the Red Cross was assisting. Good thing!

      • Paul says:

        FWIW, the city has a contract with the Red Cross and it’s function is the placement of tenants who are displaced in emergencies.

        • MaryO says:

          Yes. The contract $ is for supplies (like that blanket in the photo) and living wages for the staff who manage the responses when there aren’t enough volunteers available.

    5. Monica says:

      Early on Tuesday morning from my apartment I saw the black smoke bellowing from the chimney. I called the police and within five minutes the fire trucks came. Very impressive – New York City at its best! The outcome could have been very bad.

    6. dcsos says:

      I ordered food and waited two hours for it not to come on Monday night. There was no indication anywhere on the web that the fire had occurred… My online order went through and my credit card was charged. However the food never arrived and it was not possible to receive any information by calling the restaurant as their phone did not function, providing only a mystifying message. By 9 o’clock I was convinced my 7 o’clock o’clock order would never arrive-it wasn’t till the next day that I found out about the fire by searching the web