Wiring sparks fire at E.V. eatery

The scene at Yakiniku West shortly after the fire. Photo by Mary Reinholz

BY MARY REINHOLZ | A two-alarm fire that swept through Yakiniku West, a trendy two-level East Village restaurant on Saturday afternoon, has been deemed by fire marshals an accident due to wiring on the ceiling of the first level of the four-story building, 218 E. Ninth St., that includes residential tenants, a New York Fire Department spokesperson said Monday. There were no further details immediately available.

The fire, which officials reportedly said left the building “unlivable,” broke out around 3:30 p.m. at the restaurant, a venue that provides diners with grills on their tables for cook-it-yourself Japanese and Korean barbeque. More than 100 firefighters arrived as smoke billowed out to nearby Third Ave. Neighbors reported they first heard an explosion that apparently blew out windows on the second floor.

One tenant on the block told CBS New York: “When I opened the window, I smelled, like, electrical wiring burning and then I saw trucks arriving, kind of chaotic. Then I saw smoke obviously pouring out. They pulled out a dog — pretty cool to see.”

Police and Fire officials at the scene said there were no injuries.

Two families were said to occupy the upper floors but were not there when the Red Cross arrived, according to spokesperson Michael de Vulpillieres. The Villager spoke briefly to the owner of Yakiniku West on Sunday evening, shortly after he emerged from the building’s blackened first floor with several associates. Asked when his restaurant would open, he said, “in two months,” and abruptly walked away, declining to give his name.

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