Early Morning Fire Destroys Row of Bronx Stores

NY 1 - December 18, 2014

by Erin Clarke

Firefighters are looking into the cause of a fire that tore through a commercial building in the Bronx early Wednesday morning. The five-alarm fire broke out around 5:30 a.m. on University Avenue near West Burnside Avenue in University Heights.

The fire department says the flames started in a 99 cent store, and eventually spread to a pizza place, a laundromat, and a grocery store.

The FDNY says three firefighters suffered minor injuries.

"A big challenge is trying not to make it spread to too many more stores. And the guys did a very good job by stopping it at the grocery store on the corner and the restaurant on the other side," said FDNY Deputy Chief 7th Division Joe Saccente.

"It was horrific, you know the flames just shooting up," said one neighborhood resident.

"All I seen is smoke. There was a whole bunch of firefighters. They didn't know where the source of the fire coming from. They even left and came back," noted another neighborhood resident.

The deputy fire chief on the scene says most of the stores will have to be demolished and rebuilt.

Fire officials also say the heavy amount of smoke caused students at nearby public schools PS396 and MS390/P10X to be relocated as a precaution.

Holy Spirit Catholic School, which is also located near the fire, canceled classes for the day.