A 4-alarm fire destroyed an air conditioning company warehouse in Sunset Park, Brooklyn Wednesday morning, resulting in six firefighter injuries, fire officials said.
Smoke could be seen for miles, as firefighters battled the warehouse fire that comprised several large storage garages filled with air conditioning equipment, PVC electrical conduit and wires, and tanks of compressed air for the air conditioners, said Assistant Chief John Hodgens.
The fire broke out shortly before 9 a.m. at 265 45th St. in the air conditioning warehouse, the name written in Chinese lettering, officials said. Chief Hodgens said smoke was pouring out from under the steel gate and when firefighters opened the door, they found a crowded building with air conditioning equipment stocked to the ceiling. Firefighters struggled to get to the seat of the fire, which spread from the first to the second floors of the structure, Chief Hodgens said.
At the height of the fire, there were 38 units and 168 firefighters and EMS personnel on scene. Chief Hodgens said all of the six firefighters injured were minor and taken to local hospitals.
Hazardous materials firefighters were also called to the scene to mitigate bottles of compressed air that Chief Hodgens said could pose a hazard to firefighters. A stainless steel shop next door suffered minor damage due to the fire spreading into the ceiling and roof. Firefighters were pulled off the roof by commanders when it was deemed to be too hazardous, Chief Hodgens said.
Firefighters were expected to be on scene for several hours working to secure the compressed air bottles and making sure there were no additional sparks that could flare up. The Buildings Department was also called to evaluate the safety of the building.
Chief Hodgens said the cause of the fire was unclear and was under investigation by fire marshals.
The fire also caused a traffic snarl on Third Avenue as the north-bound lanes were closed due to heavy fire department presence.