Seventeen people were injured in a six-alarm fire that burned through the East Village on Wednesday.
The blaze began early Wednesday morning and burned for hours, forcing two Manhattan schools nearby to cancel classes and all school activities.
Captain John L. O’Connell of the NYPD 9th Precinct reported a total of 17 injuries — three civilians and 14 firefighters — due to the fire. None of the injures were life threatening; the victims were treated for smoke inhalation and some for heat exhaustion.
“Thankfully no fatalities,” O’Connell added on Twitter.
The first flames broke out around 1:45 a.m. at 188 1st Avenue, a five story apartment building that houses sushi restaurant Uogashi on the first floor.
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Firefighters were on scene through 11 a.m. FDNY Chief of Department James Leonard said on Wednesday morning that battling the six-alarm fire would be “a prolonged operation due to heavy construction and structural concerns of the building.”
Leonard also told reporters that it was a “very difficult, stubborn fire to fight.”
East Village fire forced evacuations
East Side Community High School and P.S. 19 Asher Levy were the two schools that had to cance classes due to the fire. The blaze forced business owners and residents on the street around 188 1st Ave. to evacuate, as well.
“There was a lot of smoke, and the fact that the streets were closed, it was just difficult to bring children into the area,” Leonard said.
With streets closed for emergency services, northbound traffic on 1st Ave. was closed most of the day. NYPD briefly opened the road to vehicular traffic around 1 p.m., but a small flare up in the rear of the building forced officials to close the road again about an hour later.
As of 4 p.m., FDNY units were still battling the East Village fire, according to the City of New York — about 14 hours after the blaze first began. City officials warned residents in the area to close their windows because of smoke and to expect traffic delays throughout the evening.
FDNY officials believe that the fire began on the building’s first floor. The department is investigating the incident further.