Manhattan Buildings Department offices hit by fire and water damage

traffic safety
Firefighters emerge from 280 Broadway where a fifth floor fire was contained by sprinklers. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

A fire in a Department of Buildings headquarters on Monday afternoon caused damage to several offices after computer paper somehow caught fire, FDNY officials said.

The fire was mostly contained to a fifth floor storage area at 280 Broadway, but was kept to a minimum by the building sprinkler system that a requirement in all commercial buildings over 40 feet high, including city-owned buildings.

No injuries were reported, though traffic on Broadway at Chambers Street was snarled for nearly an hour.

The fire went to an “all-hands” bringing in more than 50 firefighters on scene, who conducted a search throughout the building and were able to establish that the offices were safe to return. There were few workers in the building because of the Presidents Day holiday.

DOB officials did not respond as to how much damage the offices may have incurred.

The building, the former newspaper headquarters for the New York City Sun from 1833-1950, still has the original clock on the building, but hasn’t worked in years.  The City Sun was resurrected from 2002 to 2008 by investor Conrad Black, but then shut it down. The Department of Buildings later established their headquarters in the building. The building was made a landmark in 1986.

The former City Sun building is a landmark – but the clock doesn’t work. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

At one point, firefighters were unable to remove a hose that was connected to a fire truck. Efforts to remove the hose resulted in the hydrant exploding from underneath, causing a geyser in front of the building. It was quickly controlled, though DEP would be called to repair and hydrant.

Firefighters struggled to remove a hose from a hydrants that started spraying water from underneath. (Photo by Todd Maisel)
The hydrant then exploded water in all directions for a few moments before being shut down. (Photo by Todd Maisel)


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