UPDATE: Some Notes On The Upper West Side Citibank Fire (With Video)

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

A quick update on Saturday’s massive UWS fire that destroyed a Citibank and forced neighboring businesses to temporarily close:

MUW reader Don recently stopped by the scene and sent in this note:

I spoke with a Citibank corporate guy outside the burned out building this late afternoon. He told me:

- they’ll rebuild the bank where it is. (rumors that it’ll be replaced with a low-or high-rise are bunk)

- in the meantime, they’re setting up a temporary indoor facility up the block. And they’ll be placing portable ATMs on the street for customer use, 24/7

- they checked the empty safe-deposit boxes and found no fire, water, or smoke damage inside. They’ve since removed all of the boxes (they were on a truck outside)

- the electrical fire started in the basement ceiling, above the sprinkler-system and not visible by security cameras. It was only when the fire burst out of that area when the alarms were triggered. I mentioned the renovation that the bank had gone through over the past year and asked if there were suspicions that some idiot electrical contractor screwed up. He told me they’re looking into that, too.

That note about the safe deposit boxes was great to read, as I’m sure many contained irreplaceable items. Big thanks to Don for the report!

As for the neighboring businesses — I just spoke to someone at Samad’s Gourmet (located next door at 2867 Broadway) and they’re planning to re-open tomorrow, although perhaps starting a bit later than usual. It’s not entirely set in stone, but that’s the plan as of this writing.

It didn’t sound like the space is 100% back to normal yet, but this is terrific news. I received a lot of notes from concerned readers who worried the store wouldn’t survive, and yet it looks like they’ll be back back up and running less than a week after fire.

Unfortunately, it appears as though The Heights Bar & Grill (located above Samad’s and owned by the same person) is not as far along in their recovery. The person I spoke with at Samad’s was unsure of the timeline for the restaurant’s reopening, and it didn’t sound like it would be imminent.

One last note on the fire itself — if you’re interested in seeing the scope of the blaze, I dug up the two videos below. The first is a relatively tidy three minutes that gives a quick overview of the scene.

The second runs for nearly an hour and twenty minutes and is almost hypnotic to watch. You can see the sky turn from dark to light as firefighters work tirelessly to contain the fire, and it really makes clear just how massive the FDNY response to this incident was.

Thank to MUW reader Josh for the photo above of the currently boarded up Citibank. H/t also to reader CC.

Filed under: Manhattan, New York City, News, NYC, Openings/Closings, Upper West Side, Upper West Side Blog, UWS, Video 2 Comments »
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  • Jean Lerner

    Thank you so much for this update. I have a safety deposit box at this branch, but I’m out of town. Citibank made no attempt to contact me. No email, no phone call, no letter, no message at my electronic banking account.

  • StartWorrying

    The boxes have been moved to Citibank branch #22 at Park Ave. & 53rd St. If you call the branch, they can arrange for you to come down and claim your belongings.