Electrical fire in meter room leaves Brevoort East residents in the dark

12 units and 60 firefighters responded to the smoke conditions on E. 9th St. (Photos by Tequila Minsky)

BY TEQUILA MINSKY | Hellen Osgood was on her way home from running errands around 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 10, when the first fire truck arrived at her apartment building at 20 E. 9 St.

Soon there would be 11 more units including EMS standing ready, filling East Ninth Street at the Broadway corner and at University Place. In all, 60 firefighters responded to the smoke conditions and electrical conduit fire at Brevoort East.

The common areas and stairwells of the 27-floor multiple dwelling went dark and the elevators were out as acrid smoke from the burnt conduit filled the ground floor and stairwells.

Fire fighters packed the lobby as the sidewalk was blocked with residents who, smelling smoke, had left their apartments, or many just returning home from work and were anxious.

EMS were on site for the electrical fire. There were no injuries.

“I called my husband— the electricity was on in the apartment—and he said the smoke was not increasing, so I wasn’t worried,” Osgood said. “Initially, there was a lot of activity, but it seemed under control.” She added, “In times like this, you just have to let those in charge do their jobs.”

The electrical fire was contained within the electric meter room and there was no need to evacuate. With building management’s okay, by 7:45 pm, using the flashlight on her cell phone, she made the trek up 11 flights to her apartment.

Con-Ed crews were quickly on site to restore temporary service. Management communicates by email and by 9:30 p.m. they wrote: “It goes without saying that safety is a top priority. Please remain in your apartments as the staircases and hallways are dark.”

12 firefighting units surrounded the E. 9th St. building to make sure all was safe.

By 8:30 a.m. the next morning, Management alerted residents, “Power has been restored. Currently the freight and one passenger elevators are up and running.” It was discovered that the breaker switch blew out in a panel, which caused the fire in the panel.

Osgood describes how incredible the staff were, keeping everyone calm and people updated. Bob Miller, site superintendent, and Max Ramirez, concierge on duty, helped coordinate efforts with the FDNY, who went through the building and knocked on doors, especially those of the elderly residents.

Concierge on duty the night of the fire, Max Ramirez helped coordinate efforts with the FDNY.

Saluting FDNY, Ramirez admired their timely response, welfare checks, and coordinated efforts to get the fire under control.

The following night, Wednesday, as planned, and with two elevators still not working, neighbors congregated in Brevoort East’s expansive lobby for the annual holiday party.

The party must go on! In the building’s lobby, neighbors reminiscent about Hurricane Sandy.

While eating and drinking, residents remembered their power outage during Hurricane Sandy and how the building was affected. They spoke of how particularly seniors are affected during these occurrences.

“The spirit during our holiday party shows how resilient we are,” Osgood says.

Fire Department and Office of Emergency Management have visited the building multiple times and have given an “all clear” on air quality. Additionally, American Fire Restoration placed air scrubbers with carbon filters on every floor to help alleviate the residual smoke odors and the electricians continue to work to restore all areas that were compromised by the fire.

One Response to Electrical fire in meter room leaves Brevoort East residents in the dark

  1. Great article and photos, as usual, Tequila!

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