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.