Fire at 17th Street and 5th Avenue

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A reader just sent in these photos of a fire that broke out at the Associated Grocery Store as well as the apartments above it at 17th Street and 5th Avenue. There’s heavy smoke, tons of fireman, and the streets are blocked from 18th Street to Prospect Avenue. Gothamist Maps shows the fire broke out at 12:40 p.m., but we don’t have any more details yet. Anyone know what happened?

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  • OH NO! Hope everyone is OK.

  • YIKES! i really hate fires, seriously scary.

  • I just went up on my roof and could see flames coming out of the top of the building, so it’s clearly not under control yet.

  • Fire is really out of control right now. Smoke is much thicker and blacker than before. Streets are still blocked off and it’s damn near impossible to breathe out there. Looks like this one will be going for a while. Word on the street is that the fire began in the basement of the grocery store late this morning and then just shot straight up into the store itself and the apartments above. I feel terrible for the people who live there who will come home to nothing and noplace to go :-(

  • Every few minutes the view from my bedroom window turns jet black and visibility goes down to zero from the smoke. My whole apartment smells like burning fabric. I don’t know that there’s enough Febreeze and lysol in the world to kill this smell.

  • Sounds terribly suspicious. Fast moving fire like this?

  • Very bad. Just back from there. The smoke is crazy! I hope no one was hurt.

  • Have they gotten it under control yet? the smell is still horrible over here!

  • Been watching this from 7th floor across the way since it broke almost 4 hours ago!!! It seems to have gone from bad to worse……yikes, I hope the fire dept knows what it’s doing cuz this did not look like it was that bad when it started.

  • Grocery stores have all sorts of things that burn… really well. Urrf.

  • I just drove up 5th ave. about 45 minutes ago and it’s still blocked off and tons of firemen

  • The American Red Cross in Greater NY is currently on the scene and determining which residents will require assistance. If you or someone you know has suffered damage due to the fire, the Red Cross may be able to provide assistance and information. Please call our 24-hour number at 1-877-REDCROSS (733-2767). For more details on our response to the fire as it happens, please follow us on twitter at

  • It actually started about a half-hour earlier than 12:40. I placed a 911 call as I passed by on my way to work around 12:10. People were climbing down fire escapes from the 3rd floor and the smoke was crazy. When I checked in with my nanny a little while ago, she said a neighbor told her a boiler explosion was at the root of things. Not sure that’s the official cause, though.

  • Streets still blocked, firemen still spraying water, still plenty of smoke. Red Cross is here, as is the gas company and TWC. My heart really goes out to those who lost their homes today.

  • “Broke out at 12:40 PM”

    I was there before 12:30 and it was fully ablaze.
    Looked real bad from the get go. Must have had something to do with the compressors of the HVAC systems.
    Within 15 minutes smoke and flames were shooting from every part of the building.

    I feel real bad for all effected.
    The store owner and his crew were great and those poor folks in the apartments have lost everything.

  • Fire dept. still here. Streets still closed off, even to pedestrians. I had to go down to 4th ave and then come back up Prospect Ave just to go north on 5th Ave. The entire block of buildings is destroyed – the grocery store, the hair salon, the bar. All of it. It appears that the 2 northernmost apartments were spared, but everything else is in complete ruins. Horrifying sight.

  • I’m one of the residents of this building. I’ve been away on vacation since the 1st and won’t get back until the 18th. Just heard news of this from my boyfriend, who lives with me. We are in the very top floor, the bedroom of our window is above the one that had flames coming out of it in the photo on another site. My boyfriend is fine and so are my two roommates thankfully, but my two pet rats are probably lost. I have never felt so terrible before. I’m here abroad watching this happen to my friends and my possessions, with so little I could do. Can you please tell me if it looks like anything might be intact in that top floor? We are the two square windows in the middle of the building, one with a fire escape and one without. I’ve lost two little lives… I hope that at least some of my things have survived.

  • It also looks like the little gallery next door on 17th, where they also do kids activities, and the brownstone next door to that were very badly damaged. Believe the gallery and the home are all the same family- this whole thing is very sad.

  • This is the gallery and house next door that looks like it was destroyed (from the open source gallery website):


    Founders, Gary Baldwin and Monika Wuhrer are husband and wife and live next door to the Open Source Art-Stadium with their three sons, Oskar, Hugo, and Peter. Gary hails from the great state of Texas where he received a Bachelor of the Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Gary came to New York City in 1994 to study at the School of Visual Arts, where he earned a Masters of Fine Arts in Photography and related media. Monika is from the Alps, the Austrian ones, and after studying in Milan, Italy, returned to her native country where she completed her Masters of the Arts in sculpture from the Academy of Vienna. Neither Monika nor Gary is intent on leaving Brooklyn soon.”

    Maybe a good time try to support them with whatever rebuilding plans they have.

  • It seems the broiler exploded in the basement. The whole building is destroyed and there is a lot of damage to the building behind as well ( and to the side. I walked by at 12 noon and it firemen, emt workers, police, etc had just arrived. I went by again at 11 30pm, and firemen were still working hard.

  • Yes, the gallery was gutted as well as the apartments above it.

    My video of the fire and the resulting damage:

    (first item in the set is the video)

  • yes open source is my little baby or better mine and my husbands. i will start to facebook and tweet as soon as things are not quite as crazy. so check back at . if anybody knows of something temporary or permanent (storefront), please let me know. but also sublets for our tennants please let us know.