A five-alarm fire rocked Bedford Park during the early hours of Tuesday, April 24.
The blaze broke out in Spin City Laundromat on the corner of E. 194th Street and Marion Avenue, brutally taking out six other stores in the retail strip.
“Upon arrival we found a lot of smoke and intense fire in the seven shops,” said FDNY head James E. Leonard. “It will be investigated by fire marshals,” he added.
Local residents Robert Sneed and Joseph Clemons were in the area at 5:30 a.m. when the blaze on the one-story building first broke out.
“I heard helicopters and (then) saw the massive fire start in the laundromat, travelling through all of the other stores, the smoke was incredibly thick” said Sneed.
“We were waiting for it to explode, there were firefighters on the roof more towards the other stores, there was more smoke coming out there than from the laundromat,” said Clemons. “I came back around 7:30 and the smoke was still pouring out of all the stores,” he added.
Some neighbors thought they heard an explosion at the time the fire began, but that couldn’t be confirmed.
The thick, billowing smoke damaged Adrianna Williams’ basement apartment on 2604 Bainbridge Avenue, one of two residential buildings located behind the stores now turned to rubble.
“I came outside at about 6:35 this morning and there was smoke everywhere,” said Williams. “Firefighters had to break through my gate to get to the back of the stores,” she added.
The roof of Spin City eventually collapsed with water gushing from damaged pipes around the laundromat; by the afternoon the roofs of the surrounding stores partially gave way as well.
The water flooded the yard between the stores and William’s building, however she’s unsure if her apartment was also water damaged.
It took FDNY members until around noon to get the powerful blaze under control.
In addition to Spin City, a pizzeria, Chinese food restaurant, income tax service, pharmacy, barber shop and beauty salon were also destroyed.
One neighbor expressed concern that the pharmacy didn’t have insurance and that this could be the end for the business.
The adjacent building. occupied by a Food Universe grocery store, received incidental damage.
Sneed explained that the supermarket was recently renovated as well.
“The success here today is that we have no injuries,” said Leonard. “The bad news is that we have a total loss of a building and seven businesses,” he added.
What caused the blaze is still unknown at this time,
Sneed said he thought that the owners of 3 Sisters Pizza & Mexican Food were in their shop at the time of the fire.
“Sometimes they’re in there all night long,” Sneed added.
However, FDNY did not report that anyone was inside the building at the time of the blaze.