Volume 78 - Number 31 / December 31, 2008 - January 6, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

historic row houses

Villager photo by J.B. Nicholas

Stores were closed and apartment windows where firefighters had knocked out the glass were sealed with plywood
on W. 10th St. after a fire on Dec. 19.

Historic row houses are hit by Con Edison fire

By Albert Amateau

A fire that started in a Con Edison electrical cable under Sixth Ave. at W. 10th St. on Friday night Dec. 19 forced the evacuation of a row of 170-year-old, three-story buildings.

No one was injured, but tenants on the top floors of 101-107 W. 10th St. were evacuated and stayed with friends or at accommodations provided by the Red Cross during the early hours of Dec. 20.

Ground-floor shops did not open for business on Saturday, and the Department of Buildings posted full-vacate orders on the doors of Nos. 103 and 105. All four buildings were still vacant at press time this week. A spokesperson for the Department of Buildings said the vacate orders would be lifted as soon as the buildings were made safe.

In response to a question about whether the historic buildings might be demolished for safety reasons, the D.O.B. spokesperson said only, “No demolition permits have been issued.”

A phone call to Metropolitan Management, the managing agent for the buildings, was not returned on Tues., Dec. 30. Chaim Mucktar, the owner of Bombalulu’s, a children’s clothing store closed because of the fire, said in a phone interview on Tuesday that the agent had not yet contacted him about repairing the premises.

The Con Edison cable fire was reported shortly after 9 p.m. on Dec. 19, according to a post on the Web site of the W. 10th St. firehouse, where Squad 18 is based; according to the post, at the same time, firefighters observed smoke coming from one of the four buildings. Fire was then discovered in the basements at 101, 103, 105 and 107 W. 10th St. and later on the buildings’ first and second floors. A second alarm was transmitted at 10 p.m., according to the Fire Department.

Firefighters were on the scene for two hours, and Con Edison crews were working at the site and closed 10th St. between Seventh and Sixth Aves. On Saturday and Sunday after the fire, the blaze’s cause was still under investigation, a Con Edison spokesperson said.

A handwritten sign on the door of Pet Palace, the pet supply store at 107-109 W. 10th St., told customers, “The little black cat is safe. He goes home every night when the store is closed so he wasn’t here when the fire began.”

The row of damaged buildings are in the middle of the Greenwich Village Historic District. They sit in a triangular block bounded by two quirky, little, gated alleys — Milligan Place on Sixth Ave. and Patchin Place on W. 10th St. across from the Jefferson Market Library.

Houses on the two alleys were not affected. The four houses in the Milligan Place cul-de-sac were built in 1852, and the 10 houses in Patchin Place were built between 1848 and 1849.

The row of buildings at 101-107 W. 10th St. was built in 1836 for Samuel Smith, according to the 1969 Greenwich Village Historic District designation report.


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