Blaze consumes 7 Morrisania businesses

A three-alarm fire consumed seven Southern Blvd stores in the Morrisania area of the Bronx on Wednesday, November 19, killing over 100 animals from the Stephanie and Amanda’s Pet Center. Photos by Kevin Heckman

The Morrisania area of the Bronx is looking to move forward after the devastating three-alarm fire that recently destroyed several businesses and killed over 100 animals.

On Wednesday, November 19 a fire erupted from Urrego Alba Cleaners, located at 1105 Southern Blvd., at 4:15 p.m., due to unknown causes that remain under investigation.

The blazing fire quickly tore through seven neighboring businesses; consuming the dry cleaners, nail salon, deli, photo shop, barbershop, and Stephanie and Amanda’s Pet Center, amongst others on Southern Blvd. The third alarm was activated around 5 p.m.

Though no human casualties resulted from the fire, over 100 birds, reptiles, cats, dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits, and other small animals were unable to be rescued from the shop. Of the all the animals, rescuers’ were able to save five, including two kittens, two puppies, and a parrot.

According to FDNY, a total of 138 firefighters and 33 units battled the flames for several hours until it was declared under control around 7:28 p.m.

Throughout this period, the #2 and 5 subway lines in the area were temporarily shutdown between E. 149th and E. 180th streets to ensure commuter safety from fire and smoke.

“The elevated train was shut down, and rightfully so,” said district manager of Community Board 2, John Robert. “Whenever there is a subway line involved, they must stop it to make sure it won’t be affected by the fire. That same night the bus and subway service resumed.”

The near by apartment building was also evacuated, though the fire was under control before it spread to the five-story residence, which is believed to have sustained only minor damage.

According to the fire department, three firefighters were reported to have sustained minor injuries and brought to Jacobi Medical Center for treatment, but the largest casualties by far remain the multitude of pets from the 27- year old shop.

A meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 26, at 10 a.m. at the CB2 office through the Small Business Services unit of the Economic Development Corporation.

“This is standard procedure after a fire,” said Robert. “We will discuss how to best help the owners and options available to help them. We want to encourage these people to stay; they provide a valuable service to the community. They have things the community needs and we want them to rebuild.”

This region also suffered a residential fire, at 954, 952 and 950 Rodgers Place on Sunday, November 23, but fortunately there were no seriously injuries and the homes remain intact.

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