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Firefighters battle intense Soho rooftop blaze

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Soho became Smoke-o early Thursday morning, as a penthouse rooftop fire filled the sky with thick black smoke.

The Fire Department received calls about the blaze — located at a five-story building at 463 Broome St., between Mercer and Greene Streets — around 6:40 a.m. Within three minutes firefighters had rushed to the scene, with a total of more than 140 personnel, including EMS units, ultimately responding.

(Photo by Richard Leonard)

The raging flames were “knocked down” quickly, keeping them from spreading to an adjacent building, and the fire was deemed officially “under control” by around 9 a.m. However, speaking afterward, officials said the hazard level for firefighters had been high due to the current heatwave baking the East Coast.

“The fire was intense, flames and smoke shooting across the top of the roof,” said Deputy Joseph Pfeifer, the Fire Department’s first deputy commissioner. “This was a very dangerous situation, not only because of the fire but also because of the heat.”

He said since it was critical for the firefighters to “stay hydrated,” they were quickly cycled off the rooftop as they battled the blaze.

“That’s why it went to a third alarm,” he explained of the massive influx of smoke eaters.

Smoke from the fire wafted north over nearby Washington Square Village, right, and other buildings above Houston Street. (Photo by Susan Silver)

A TV news helicopter got footage of a neighbor trying to douse the flames with a bucket and his garden house, but the fire brass said that’s generally not recommended.

An E.M.S. official added it was lucky the fire did not happen in the afternoon during the day’s “high heat.”

Five firefighters suffered minor injuries, with two transported to New York-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital for treatment.

The blaze’s cause is under investigation.

One Comment

  1. Patricia Melvin Patricia Melvin June 20, 2024

    Apparently started in a new rooftop add-on penthouse.

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