Cobble Hill

Fire erupts atop LICH’s ‘jewel-like’ Polhemus building in Brooklyn

August 26, 2016 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Firefighters rush to extinguish a blaze that broke out on the top floor of the former Polhemus Memorial Clinic at Long Island College Hospital (LICH) Friday morning. Photo courtesy of a Brooklyn Eagle contributor

A fire broke out on the roof of the former Polhemus Memorial Clinic at Long Island College Hospital (LICH) Friday morning at roughly 11 a.m.

According to a Fortis Property Group spokesman, a small piece of the roof caught fire while workers were removing a water tank. The fire was caused by the torch being used to remove the tank. (At press time, the Brooklyn Eagle was awaiting a response from FDNY. Check back for updates.)

One neighbor told the Eagle that they observed two workers pushing a very large oxygen tank into the building earlier Friday morning.

“The two guys could hardly push it,” the neighbor, who wished to remain nameless, said. “One hour later, whoosh!”

The fire caused minor damage to a limited area, an area that the developer planned to replace anyway, the Fortis spokesman said. The fire will not cause any delay, he added.

Fortis, which purchased LICH’s Cobble Hill complex for $240 million, plans to create 17 apartments in the eight-story building, according to plans filed with the city Buildings Department. They will be condos, an architect for the project said at a Community Board 6 meeting in July.

The Polhemus building has been called one of the finest architectural jewels in the LICH property portfolio.

SUNY Downstate Medical Center — the final hospital operator to own 155-year-old LICH — sold LICH to Fortis following a two-year legal battle with community groups and health-care professionals.

Fortis plans to remove the third-floor pedestrian bridge over Amity Street (shown in photo) that connects the Polhemus building to another former LICH building.

A firefighter can be just seen on the roof of the smoking Polhemus building. Photo courtesy of a Brooklyn Eagle contributor