By Joy Bergmann
As he stood across the street from his apartment building at 48 W. 73rd Street, Rafe Evans held up his phone to show WSR his recent messages. “That’s the email you never want to see: ‘There’s a fire in your apartment.'”
Evans and his dog had not been at home in their second-floor unit when a fire broke out around 3:30 p.m. Monday afternoon. A video posted on the Citizen app showed smoke pouring from the unit, sitting right above a Starbucks on the southeast corner of 73rd and Columbus.
A young woman who lives down the hall from Evans was among the first to notice something amiss. “I heard an alarm going off and smelled something like burning rubber,” she told WSR at the scene. “I called 911, knocked on my neighbor’s door and we ran outside together.”
Another resident of the building, a young woman from the fourth floor, waited worriedly on the 73rd Street sidewalk, gazing up at the building and the multiple FDNY units crowding the intersection. “I just came back and it’s like this. My dog is inside. I want to go get her.”
Chief White from FDNY’s 10th Battalion told WSR there were no injuries reported in the incident and the blaze was contained to the one unit. “It was a small fire in the kitchen. It appears to have started from a faulty dishwasher,” Chief White said.
Evans said he put in a new dishwasher about nine months ago and had just repainted the apartment. Despite the mess he was about to confront, he seemed to be taking the situation with equanimity. “It’s just inconvenient,” he said.