A seven-alarm fire that destroyed a warehouse housing millions of government records and forced an evacuation in one of New York City’s trendiest neighborhoods could take weeks to extinguish completely, fire officials said on Sunday.
Some 270 firefighters have been sent to battle the blaze, which broke out early on Saturday, charring a four-story storage facility in Williamsburg. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
“The building is a total loss,” said James Leonard, chief of department for the Fire Department of New York. “We’re putting in a tremendous amount of water and yet it’s still burning.”
The city’s health department issued a warning late on Saturday, asking residents of the neighborhood, which is lined with bars and restaurants, to stay indoors with their windows closed to avoid smoke-related injuries.
Billowing smoke formed a gray cloud above Brooklyn and the blackened carcass of the warehouse, which specializes in storing paper office records, took up the length of an entire block. Firefighters fought the flames in frigid temperatures overnight, with icicles hanging down from their helmets.