A massive, five-alarm fire erupted late Sunday morning at a Brooklyn storefront, injuring ten first responders in the process.
Firefighters responded to an 11:56 a.m. 911 call from a one-story commercial building at Lee Avenue and Williamsburg Street, adjacent to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, in Williamsburg. By 1:30 p.m., 168 firefighters were on scene trying to put out a massive inferno engulfing the building and sending huge plumes of smoke into the air.
FDNY members are currently operating at a 3-alarm fire at 106 Lee Avenue in Brooklyn. Use caution in the area. pic.twitter.com/IvGu1s8cd1
— FDNY (@FDNY) August 20, 2023
Nine firefighters and one EMT were removed to area hospitals, some with critical injuries, but all are expected to survive, an FDNY spokesperson said. Firefighters had to pry open the stores, many of which were unoccupied, but did not find anyone inside them.
It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the fire. The building’s tenants include a kosher restaurant, a discount store, a chocolate store, and several others, but FDNY officials could not immediately say where the fire started.
Tragic day in the heart of South Williamsburg.
5 alarm fire has destroyed several beloved local businesses on Lee Ave.
Spoke to 3 of the business owners & property owner and we will do everything we can to help each and every business and their workers get back on their feet. pic.twitter.com/1muq8q6g6X
— Lincoln Restler (@LincolnRestler) August 20, 2023
Local City Councilmember Lincoln Restler said several of the businesses had been completely destroyed in the blaze.
“We’ve just suffered a devastating fire. Beloved local businesses have just been totally destroyed. Dozens of workers have lost their jobs,” Restler said in a video posted on Twitter. “It’s going to be a long recovery for Lee Avenue and for these business owners, but we’ll do our best to help.”
Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said the blaze was under control during a press conference just before 4 p.m.
This is a developing story.