The gas explosion on Second Avenue near East 7th Street occurred in March 2015. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced last Friday that all of the defendants on trial for the gas explosion that occurred on Second Avenue at East 7th Street in 2015 have been found guilty.
Vance said that Maria Hrynenko, 59, Athanasios “Jerry” Ioannidis, 63, and Dilber Kukic, 44, were found guilty for their role in the fatal explosion at 121 Second Avenue on March 26 of that year that killed 23-year-old Nicholas Figueroa and 27-year-old Moises Locon, seriously injured 13 other victims and caused three buildings at the corner to completely collapse.
“This is a big win for public safety in New York,” Vance said. “As construction and development continue to boom, today’s guilty verdict puts property owners, contractors, and managers on notice: my office will pursue criminal charges against those who place expediency and financial gain over life and limb.”
The explosion was caused by plumbing and gas work that was going on inside 121 Second Avenue, which was one of the three buildings to collapse. Con Edison said at the time that the building had failed an inspection earlier on the same day as the explosion.
Firefighters pull ropes to hoist two injured workers out of the construction pit. (Photos by Jefferson Siegel)
By Jefferson Siegel
Nine construction workers were overcome by carbon monoxide late Tuesday afternoon at a construction site on East 29th Street between Park Avenue South and Madison Avenue, the location of a 46-story building that will house condos.
The men were using power saws while working in an enclosed space near gasoline-powered generators when they started to feel dizzy. Most of the workers were able to exit the space on their own, but two had to be lifted out by firefighters. They were taken to a hospital and the Buildings Department issued a stop-work order on the site.
A worker overcome by carbon monoxide is rushed to an ambulance.
Con Edison substation on Avenue C (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
A minor fire broke out in an office space on the second floor of the East River substation inside the Con Edison facility at 230 Avenue C earlier this morning. Multiple nearby residents posted video on the crime reporting app Citizen of FDNY vehicles responding to the scene around 8:40 a.m.
A spokesperson for the fire department told Town & Village that a call about the blaze at the facility near East 14th Street came in at 8:26 a.m. and 12 units, including 60 firefighters and EMS personnel, responded to the scene. No injuries were reported as a result of the fire.
Con Edison spokesperson Allan Drury told Town & Village that personnel were evacuated from the building at the time of the fire but were able to reenter the control room below the office where the fire had occurred by 9:19 a.m.
The FDNY said that the cause of the fire is under investigation.
The First Avenue shops were barricaded off as Con Ed continued to work at the scene last Thursday. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
Following the manhole fire under Stuyvesant Town that caused the evacuation of stores from 18th to 20th Streets on First Avenue, all but one of the businesses have reopened.
The one that didn’t, Ibiza Kidz, was hit the hardest in terms of smoke damage. While cleaning and airing out her shop and assessing damage last Thursday, owner Carole Husiak said she lost her almost all her inventory, including what was in the basement. Additionally, none of the clothing items could be restocked since they were ordered six months ago from wholesalers and are now out of stock.
Husiak said she’s since worked with vendors for new clothing to be brought in quickly. And the scooters and helmets previously in stock are still okay.
However, it isn’t clear yet when the store will reopen since the cleanup effort in coordination with her insurance companies, is ongoing.
Firetrucks line First Avenue. (Photo by Henry Beck)
By Sabina Mollot
On Tuesday at around 6 p.m., an underground electrical fire broke out in a service box inside a manhole under Stuyvesant Town, shutting down the businesses along First Avenue from 18th to 20th Streets.
No one was injured but the amount of smoke meant the stores had to evacuate — including the animal residents at Petland.
Carole Husiak, owner of clothing store Ibiza Kidz, was at work when the overhead began to flicker. At the time, she thought there was something wrong with the store’s bulbs, but a few minutes later, Stuyvesant Town employees ran in to tell her to turn off all the store’s power and evacuate.
“There were hundreds of firemen and trucks as far as you could see in both directions,” said Husiak. “I think they were anticipating an explosion.”
The FDNY is investigating a fire that broke out at a high-rise building in Union Square on Monday morning.
Eighty-four firefighters from 26 units responded to the “all hands” fire at 8:10 a.m., but according to the FDNY, it was under control in 31 minutes. The fire was on the seventh floor of the commercial building, 25 East 15th Street on the west side of Union Square Park. A spokesperson for the fire department said it is standard for that many firefighters to respond to any fire at a high-rise. No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is still being determined.
After putting out the blaze, the FDNY sent out an emailed alert to warn New Yorkers to expect smoke and traffic delays in the area as well as emergency vehicles.
A fire ripped through an apartment in Stuyvesant Town on Thursday afternoon, destroying it, although fortunately no one was hurt. Additionally, public safety officers were able to rescue the affected family’s Boston terrier.
A spokesperson for the FDNY said the fire at 287 Avenue C was caused by a candle in the fourth-floor apartment. After getting the call about the fire at 12:45 p.m., firefighters were at the scene in under four minutes and got the fire under control in about 35 minutes.
FDNY in front of T&V’s office at 20 West 22nd Street (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Town & Village’s office on West 22nd Street was evacuated on Thursday afternoon when a fire was reported in a neighboring building. The FDNY determined that the incident was a duct fire inside Cote, the restaurant on the ground floor of the 12-story building at 16 West 22nd Street. It was originally reported as an electrical fire with a light smoke condition at the scene. Other office workers on the ninth floor reported smelling smoke inside the building but the smell did not reach T&V’s offices on the 15th floor.
The FDNY said that 12 units, which include fire trucks and ambulances, responded to the scene, as well as 60 fire and EMS personnel. Fire marshals are investigating the incident but a spokesperson for the FDNY said that officials believe it was a grease fire.
The FDNY said that the situation was under control by 1:25 p.m. and no injuries were reported.
A fire in Kips Bay that killed two dogs but left no residents injured was electrical, the FDNY said.
A spokesperson for the FDNY told Town & Village there was a problem with the electrical wiring in the ceiling of a fourth-floor apartment.
The fire had broken out in a four-story building at 122 Lexington Avenue on Monday, the day after Christmas.
The New York Post reported that the blaze started in a fourth floor apartment of the building, which is near East 28th Street, and spread to the third floor and roof, also damaging a restaurant on the ground.
Officials told the Post that residents were not able to return to their apartments on the third and fourth floors on Monday night but apartments on the second floor may still have been habitable.
The FDNY said that the fire started around 6 p.m. and was under control about 20 minutes later. Three firefighters were sent to Bellevue with non-life-threatening injuries.
NYU Langone Medical Center’s main campus at 550 First Avenue (Photo courtesy of NYU Langone)
By Sabina Mollot and Maria Rocha-Buschel
A fire broke out at the NYU Langone Medical Center on Wednesday at around noon, on a construction site at the facility.
A spokesperson for the hospital said it was not a patient area and no patients were injured in the fire, which was extinguished by 1 p.m.
The fire started on the seventh floor rooftop where a new hospital building, scheduled to open in 2018, is under construction.
According to spokesperson Lisa Grenier, the fire was confined to this area. However, as a precaution, some patients in rooms on the north side of Tisch Hospital facing the construction were moved to the south side of the floor.
“They have since been located back to their rooms,” Grenier said. “Currently we are investigating cause and the extent of damage.”
An emailed alert from the city said area residents should expect smoke, traffic delays due to the presence of emergency responders. Neighbors were advised to close their windows and not linger outside.
The hospital is located at First Avenue and East 30th Street.
A firefighter at the scene (Photos by Michelle Deal Winfield)
By Michelle Deal Winfield
Residents were forced to flee their apartments when a fire broke out at a five-story building on Friday morning.
The blaze began at 238 East 24th Street at around 3:45 a.m. on the fourth and fifth floors, and soon smoke filled the air for blocks.
As firefighters fought to control the blaze, one resident was in front of the building in tears, wondering how she could salvage her clothing and valuables. The building’s owner was at the scene comforting residents concerned about their belongings. A couple visiting a relative said the woman’s cousin and his fiancée lived there but were vacationing in New Hampshire during the holidays.
One of the firefighters at the scene commented, “We were lucky here. Most of the residents were away on vacation. No one was hurt.”
After firefighters vented the roof; the fire was located and shortly before 5 a.m., it was extinguished. A spokesperson for the FDNY said the cause was still under investigation. Over 100 firefighters had responded to the fire.
Firefighters at the scene of the fire (courtesy of FDNY)
Firefighters attempt to extinguish the blaze (courtesy of FDNY)
Fire fighters rush into the Wonder Drug store.
Fire officials and Christine Priore, daughter of a fallen fireman, at a wreath laying ceremony (ceremony photos by Sabina Mollot)
FDNY members at a ceremony
FDNY officials at the ceremony
Some of the crowd at the ceremony
FDNY bagpipers at the Flatiron Plaza
Alicia and Christine Priore, whose father was Lieutenant Joseph Priore
By Sabina Mollot
Fifty years ago on Monday, October 17, twelve firefighters lost their lives battling a blaze in Flatiron, making the date the deadliest the department would ever know until 9/11.
The fire, which was hidden at first due to illegal building alterations, had prevented firefighters from knowing just what a dangerous situation they were in for.
On Monday, dozens of fire officials and rank and file, along with family members of the fallen firemen, gathered at the Flatiron Plaza for a remembrance ceremony and then a wreath laying at the site of the fire at the corner of 23rd Street and Broadway. Today, it’s home to a high-rise residential building with a plaque alongside it memorializing the deceased firemen.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro spoke at the ceremony about how the 1966 fire is still a big part of training for firefighters today.
“Every probationary firefighter learns about this in the academy; 23rd Street has been the subject of countless drills,” the commissioner said. “This was the department’s darkest tragedy… and remained so until 9/11.”
The cause of the fire is being investigated, but is not considered suspicious. (Photo by Tom Nonnon)
By Sabina Mollot
A car that had been parked in a Stuyvesant Town garage got charred in a fire that started in the car on Sunday night (May 15).
According to a resident who called Town & Village, the smell of smoke and burning metal was in the air when he passed the 410 East 20th Street garage on his way home at about 8:10 p.m. He then looked up to see smoke billowing out of a vent. He stuck around for a bit and noticed that it was getting worse, so he called security and fire trucks soon responded to the scene. The resident, Tom Nonnon, went home but returned to the scene once the fire was extinguished.
The car that went ablaze, Nonnon added, had Connecticut plates and he’d been told it was owned by one of the supervisors.
Police at the scene of the fire at the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava closed off the block in case the destroyed church on West 25th Street collapsed. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
A four-alarm fire gutted a Serbian Orthodox church at 24 West 25th Street on Sunday evening, following services earlier that day that took place for Orthodox Easter. Because the services ended earlier in the afternoon, no one was inside the church at the time the fire broke out around 6:50 p.m. but the blaze left the interior of the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava in shambles, burning the roof off of the landmarked structure that has been in the neighborhood since 1855. FDNY said that one civilian and four firefighters were taken to Bellevue Hospital for smoke inhalation and no other injuries were reported.
Police at the scene on Monday morning said that the street would be closed until investigators could determine that the remaining part of the building still standing was structurally sound and wouldn’t collapse. The officer noted that a collapse was unlikely but the street remained closed as a precaution. Only employees working at buildings on the street were allowed past the police barricades. FDNY noted on Wednesday morning that the cause is still under investigation but the fire is considered non-suspicious.
653 East 14th Street (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Blackstone and Ivanhoé Cambridge filed a lawsuit against a longtime Stuyvesant Town tenant at the beginning of this month because the resident has reportedly had a history of terrifying his neighbors with erratic behavior and setting fires in his apartment.
The New York Post originally reported the lawsuit between the owner and resident Max Chalawsky last Sunday and the suit was filed on April 1. The landlord, officially referred to as BPP ST in the suit, is seeking permanent injunctive relief and damages against Chalawsky because of his “severely destructive behavior” detailed in the suit, which included leaving pots unattended on a gas stove and reconnecting gas lines. The suit also alleges that Chalawsky behaved menacingly towards his neighbors and building personnel and it seeks an injunction to bar him from tampering with the gas lines, as well as damages no less than $25,000.
The suit noted nine different incidents since last year that variously involved the NYPD, FDNY, EMS, other tenants and staff in his building. Five of the incidents resulted in his being taken to Bellevue or Beth Israel for observation and in a more than one instance, Chalawsky reportedly removed a cap that had been placed on his gas line.