Times Square Fire Injures 3, Forces Hotel Evacuation

WCBS 880 Newsroom
September 22, 2019 - 11:02 am
Times Square fire

WCBS 880

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – A hotel restaurant in Times Square caught fire Sunday morning, leading to evacuations and several injuries. 

Video shows plumes of thick smoke rising from the 12-story building at 145 West 45th St.

Officials believe the fire started shortly after 7:30 a.m. in the ductwork of O’Lunney’s Restaurant and Bar. The restaurant neighbors the Hyatt Times Square hotel.

Anthony told WCBS 880 he was eating breakfast at the McDonald’s on the corner of 45th Street and Seventh Avenue when the scent of smoke filled the air.

“The building’s all like on fire, and I just see the smoke at the top,” he said. “And everybody’s just freaking out, like, ‘what’s going on?’”

It wasn’t a major fire, but it produced a lot of smoke, scaring hotel guests. Some of them evacuated dozens of flights of stairs to the ground below.

“The alarm in the hotel initially went off. We investigated that,” FDNY Deputy Chief Joseph Carlson said. 

“There was no real smoke condition in the hotel,” he said. Some people did self-evacuate, but there was really no smoke condition in the hotel.”

Carlson says smoke from the pub was sent all the way to the top of the 12-story building, creating a difficult condition to finish the job.

“You need saws to access it. In this particular case, the ductwork went out the back of the building and up to the roof. We were able to get to different areas and cut open the ductwork with various saws,” Carlson said.

Three people were taken to a hospital with minor injuries, including one person for exhaustion, the New York Times reported.

The fire was brought under control about an hour after it started. Smoke could still be seen lingering in the air several hours after the fire was put out.