Bronx furniture warehouse burns in midst of coronavirus pandemic

Firefighters battle 3-alarm warehouse fire in the Bronx. (Photo by Lloyd Mitchell)

A massive 3-alarm fire swept through a block-long Bronx furniture warehouse, sending black smoke billowing into the sky that could be seen for miles Monday afternoon, fire officials said.

No injuries were reported at the fire that began at about 1:40 p.m. at the La Flor de Mayo Express, a huge furniture warehouse and outlet that anchored the Mott Haven commercial area at 307 Bruckner Blvd. Most of the businesses in that area have been closed since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak.

When firefighters arrived, they found heavy smoke billowing from the windows and roof of the huge one block-long building. Fifteen minutes into the fire, commanders ordered all units out of the building because of the threat of collapse.

Fire officials said 138 firefighters responded as the blaze grew to 3-alarms. Numerous tower ladders were used to pour water onto the warehouse.

Merchants in the area stood nearby and wondered what would happen to the area and the numerous employees of the warehouse as a result of losing a large business during the COVID-19 outbreak. Firefighters were still pouring water on the fire Tuesday morning.

Fire officials at the scene said the blaze was suspicious with no obvious cause and because there was a heavy fire condition upon arrival. Fire marshals are investigating the cause of the fire.

During the ’70s and ’80s, some business owners would burn their businesses to the ground to collect the insurance and some fear the COVID-19 crisis might incline some owners to do the same and decimate commercial strips. However, this particular fire has not yet been determined to be a cause.

Firefighters work to move a house line during a fire in a two-story commercial building. (Photo by Lloyd Mitchell)