These Macy's sales were a little TOO hot.
Billowing, black smoke forced the evacuation of the world's most famous department store yesterday after a blaze broke out under a store escalator in Herald Square.
Already set back by a massive snowstorm that dumped nearly a foot of snow on Manhattan, throngs of customers were challenged by the mid-afternoon fire that filled parts of the full-block store with thick smoke and raised the anxiety level higher than its tallest Christmas tree.
"I was worried about getting trampled," said Beck Sutin, a lawyer from Virginia. "There was major crowding at the escalators. People were pushing and shoving."
Flames shot out from an up escalator near the Broadway end of the building between the second and third floors shortly after 4 p.m., as busy shoppers huddled around clearance racks and checkout counters.
Smoke quickly filled the fourth floor, where cashiers and customers rushed to exits, covering their mouths with sweater sleeves and cashmere scarves.
Although officials said customers left the building in an orderly manner, several clerks said they saw shoppers grab items they did not pay for in all the confusion.
At first, officials evacuated only the third and fourth floors, but they then emptied the entire store. Firefighters brought the blaze under control 25 minutes later, and customers were let back in at about 6 p.m.
No injuries were reported.
A store spokeswoman said there was minor damage to the building and merchandise.
While some shoppers rushed home with their presents, others couldn't wait to get back in.
"I'm a very brave Christmas shopper," Monica Bednar, 27, of Queens, said. "The smoke doesn't bother me. The Christmas season is too busy for me to leave."
Mia Hernandez, 33, a secretary from The Bronx, said, "This is what we get for putting off our shopping until the last minute."
Additional reporting by Frank Rosario