Electrical Fire Spreads to Multiple Buildings, Causing ‘Small Explosions’ and Power Outages


Photos by Jennifer R.

An electrical fire caused power outages that spread to multiple buildings on 108th Street on Monday night.

The fire was called in at 8:57 p.m. at 241 West 108th Street, and went to a second alarm, with 106 firefighters and EMS personnel called to the scene. “Firefighters chased down an electrical fire which ignited a gazebo as well as the 4th floor of the multiple dwelling,” an FDNY spokesperson wrote. There were “multiple small explosions” during the fire, according to Jennifer R., a resident of 255 West 108th,  which was impacted.

“Neighboring buildings had power loss due to fire extending from the manhole,” the FDNY spokesperson added. “Members on scene investigated and ventilated any areas affected by carbon monoxide.”

The fire was declared under control at 11:56, with no injuries reported.

“Con Ed isolated the origin and has control of the scene,” the FDNY said.

NEWS | 9 comments | permalink
    1. ben says:

      New year, same old story of ‘failing infrastructure causes property damage’.

    2. Dee says:

      It would be helpful if FDNY shared the cause. Our housing stock is loaded with hazards that people should be aware of: old or inadequate wiring (prewar and cheap postwar construction), overloaded circuits with too many pieces of kitchen or office equipment, or lighting, overloaded outlets with multiple plugs and devices. Do yourself a favor: review your home for issues, and if you own, update wiring and circuits if you renovate.

      • Daisy Z says:

        I live in one of the two impacted buildings and I can assure you, this fire is unlikely to have been caused by one apartment’s faulty wiring. An investigation is underway and based on what we have been told, it will take some time to determine the final cause. As other commenters said, it is amazing that no one was hurt and while over 100 apartments were impacted, the damage was contained. Power was restored in under 24 hours.

    3. Fionamay241 says:

      This was my building 241 W 108 and it was extremely scary. The fire departments did an amazing job. First the appliances and lights were flickering for a while and there was a fire in a 1st floor apartment where a coaxial cable sparked and burst multiple electronic devices routed through the cable into smoke and then flames. We were told to unplug electric items. The firefighters were in the building because of this incident when the super from our neighboring building, whom we share a courtyard with, said she saw smoke coming out of a 4th floor window. The person living there had left his apartment when Spectrum texted there would be no internet until the late evening. The flames quickly spread and gushed out of the window with thick black smoke and if it weren’t for the firefighters already in the building checking on things it would have been much worse. There were no injuries thank god. The 4th floor apartment is ruined, as one would expect with a fire and then water damage but no humans were hurt. We have an extremely strong community in this co-op and everyone was emailing each other and making sure we were all safe and sound. One thing to note, there has been extensive construction on the east side of Broadway between 108/109 where they were working under street level so I’d be curious if this caused the electric outages. There is a video online showing this was the first fire that started. We all have internet and electricity now. I don’t know about our neighbors in The Manchester but as of 10am they had no electricity.

      • Jen says:

        I’m in the neighboring 255 building where the fire started. I was asking the firemen and police what may have caused it and they told me that likely the transformer under the street exploded started the whole thing. They said the work being done wasn’t related.

    4. Sarah says:

      Thank goodness no one was hurt.

    5. Snowy says:

      Major arc and first flames observed in the area of the sidewalk vault reconstruction project (former mattress store).

    6. chris says:

      Truly extraordinary NYFD!! Thank you for all you do every day!

    7. Anne says:

      I just moved out of an apartment that I feared had faulty wiring— flickering lights, outlets that wouldn’t work, overhead lights that would not completely turn off. I voiced my concern numerous times. Nothing was done. When I discovered black mold (extensive) I moved out. No heat, broken appliances. And the landlord now claims he will sue over broken lease. And this was ion a prime 70s block. Slumlords are everywhere. The most important things is if you feel unsafe, get OUT. Your life is worth more. Sorry for the victims of this fire.