5-alarm fire destroys Chinese food wholesaler in Bed-Stuy
Fire marshals are investigating the cause of a massive five-alarm fire that ripped through a large Chinese food warehouse distributor on Vernon Avenue in Bed-Stuy early Thursday morning, fire officials said.
No injuries were reported in the fire, which destroyed the huge warehouse and vehicles inside.
The flames broke out shortly after 3:42 a.m. in a one-story commercial warehouse containing Chinese food products. Fire officials said it was an import-export business. The fire quickly spread into the attic of the building and then through the roof, forcing firefighters to withdraw from the building and attack from outside because of the threat of collapse, fire officials said.
Efforts to control the fire were hampered by record-cold temperatures that dipped into the single digits, causing hydrants to freeze and making the ground slippery for firefighters.
The fire quickly went to five alarms due to its proximity to surrounding buildings, including one residential complex around the corner on Willoughby Avenue. Several of the buildings’ walls collapsed, keeping firefighters at a distance.
The fire was brought under control after more than five hours, but by then, the entire building was destroyed. The streets were strewn with food products all the way to Broadway, necessitating a response from the Department of Sanitation with crews to clean up large mounds of food debris. More than 200 firefighters and support personnel took part in subduing this massive fire.
Chief John Sudnik said he expects that the building will have to be demolished.
Fire marshals said it was too soon to determine the cause of the fire. NYPD Arson and Explosive Squad is also investigating.
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