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Fast-Moving Three-Alarm Blaze Hits Harlem

By BILL TOMPKINS, Correspondent | May 17, 2020 | NEW YORK

Story No. 052620106

Harlem, NY - A spectacular fast-moving fire gutted a clothing store in the middle of Harlem on May 17th.

Even with the ”COVID-19 Stay at Home” orders, West 125th St. was busy in the early evening when Manhattan Dispatch sent units to 162 W. 125th St. Flames were venting out of the second and third floors of a furniture store at the corner of Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. An additional engine and truck, followed quickly by a second-alarm at 7:42 P.M. Heavy fire broke through the roof, sending a column of black smoke skyward that could easily be seen from as far as Jersey City and beyond.

At 7:54 P.M., Division 3 transmitted a third-alarm due to the heavy volume of fire and exposure issues. All members were withdrawn due to collapse potential of the building and a HVAC unit that was starting to lean. Two tower ladders were put into operation in front of the building and a third operated from Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. over the Exposure 4 building. Handlines were also working from the roofs of Exposures 2 and 4.

There was no extension to any exposure and by 8:15 P.M. the fire was starting to darken down. Companies continued to make progress until the fire was able to be placed under control. Relief companies continued to be rotated in for several hours. No serious injuries were reported.

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.