Picking Up the Pieces
Fire destroys 2 buildings in Morrisania
By David Greene
BRONX NEWS, MARCH 12- A long struggling community must once again pick up the pieces after a devastating fire destroyed two buildings and has closed two popular businesses and left several families homeless.
Fire officials were first called to the three-alarm blaze at the Pamela Deli, located at 781 E. 163 Street at 3:30 p.m. on March 6. Fire officials and witnesses at the scene reported flames and smoke pouring out from all three floors of the wood-frame structure, before an adjacent building also caught fire.
A third building suffered multiple broken windows, as well as smoke and water damage, as firefighters vented the building. The thick, black smoke could be seen billowing high above Tinton Avenue for several miles.
Kevin Hudson, who works at an adjacent SRO had just left work and was several blocks away when he saw the speeding fire trucks, when he raced back to his building to assist with the evacuation of the 51 residents.
As firefighters were just bringing the fire under control, Hudson said of his residents, "Everyone is fine, but there's a lot of smoke in the hallways." He concluded, "Everyone evacuated quickly, there use to it. We do drills every week."
Two firefighters suffered minor burns and were transported to local hospitals. Nearly 150 firefighters from 33 units, including one unit from as far away as New Jersey battled the flames for several hours. Firemen remained at the scene the rest of the night as fire flared-up several times.
The Department of Buildings would later deem the structure unsafe and the building would be torn down.
The building's owner Pamela Baez, who has run the popular deli for the better part of three-decades, has vowed to rebuild.
Tags: Fire, building