Two blocks north and south of E. Seventh St. along Second Ave. remained closed to traffic Sunday evening as firefighters kept spraying water onto the still-smoldering shell of 47 E. Seventh St., the building where Saturday morning’s disastrous blaze reportedly began.
The raging, fast-moving fire spread to Middle Collegiate Church, gutting the historic house of worship and collapsing its roof. The flames overtook a third building, sending residents in a program for formerly incarcerated women fleeing for their lives.
In addition to motor vehicles and bikes, on Sunday evening pedestrians could not enter Second Ave. between Eighth and Sixth Sts. A police officer manning an opening in the metal gates spanning the avenue at Seventh St. said only residents of the cordoned-off area were being allowed inside.
The cop also said that what was left of the five-story 47 E. Seventh St. was being demolished.
Meanwhile, from behind a line of police gates on E. Seventh St., around 6 p.m., onlookers could see a firefighter repeatedly hitting the ruined corner tenement with blasts of water from a firehose. After each round of soaking, gray smoke — highlighted by floodlights amid the black night sky — rose from the building.
A sickly char smell still hung in the air. A COVID face mask helped a bit to block it.
Tonight, about 7 PM the corner building was pulled all down. Can anyone tell me how you can carry on an investigation when the evidence is destroyed and the scene completely tampered with?
The Dept. of Buildings on the site told me, “Well all the floors were burnt out… the floors were all gone.” He is either misinformed or misinforming.
True all the floors were severely damaged, and sections burnt through, but several firefighters after the prime fire was out last night…. were walking with all their heavy gear on, on the first floor, well into the building, at least 40 feet into the building, with a forceful hose hitting the wall and the floor above, yes, under the second floor’s floor, they seemed not worried about. I was worried for them. Photos show that there were parts of the upper floors and inner walls intact on those floors.
So… we are not being told a full truth here.
This tearing down and quick removal can only help a landlord cover up all evidence, and get what he/she wanted…. a vacant spot to put up a new building with high-paying tenants. The church? “Well, I’m sorry, bad things happen?!”
Sure, the building is/was very dangerous, and sure we want to get to the beautiful Middle to see what if anything can be salvaged, but this is what high real estate crime looks like:
Tear down quickly, blame it on danger to the public, rid any evidence, and quickly put out a likely scenario to the public … “It started on the ground floor,” I was told tonight.
As said, much of the ground floor was deemed by firemen to be intact, up in front anyway….. show us your photos and videos of where you think it started, and how. A fan? You might say confidently? Show me.
What about the lights being on the night before on two floors, floors that had been renovated with new white painted walls and light fixtures….. extremely slowly. What was going on in the building that night? Why were the floors brightly lit? Who was there?
Why were reports floated to the press that is was an “abandoned” building?
No. Rent-stabilized tenants lived there and a mysterious fire put them out in February…. and the process to fix things has been going on for 10 very long months. Why?
An investigation won’t get back the unfathomable physical loss of this sacred spot, but it would put the burden of paying for it on the right person/people.
Middle Church is a place that practices Truth-telling and Justice. And community.
Experienced investigators know all this about evidence, and evidence tampering. Public danger real, but very manageable until the smoke clears and you can see with your own eyes. We failed to do that.
What story will we be fed, with what proof?
Agreed, Truth is an ever unfolding process, but what I heard from some of the “experts” and officials on the scene tonight… was adding more smoke to the tragedy.