A fire at a Greenwich Village deli spread into a five-alarm blaze that tore through the top of a six-floor building Wednesday evening, FDNY officials said.
Firefighters rushed to The Hamilton, a 6-story, 215-unit apartment building on Broadway between E. 8th and 9th St. at about 5:45 p.m., FDNY officials said.
As a crowd of onlookers watched thick, white smoke pour from the roof, a brave building porter ran inside to rescue several stranded pets.
“I pulled out four or five dogs and two cats. There was thick smoke everywhere,” said Benny Bitiq, 49, who’s worked in the building for 14 years.”
Investigators are looking into whether a blaze in the kitchen of Bully’s Deli, on Broadway and E. 8th St., spread through the building’s ductwork and up to the top floor, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.
“It started in a deli on the first floor, traveled up a shaft quickly, and quickly spread between the space between the top floor and the roof, the space we call the cockloft,” he said.
Melissa, a 36-year-old financier who lives on the third-floor with her fiancé, said she was at work when a friend of hers from Spain saw the fire on the news and texted her.
“I just bolted out of work. Finnegan, my long-haired Chihuahua was in there,” she said. She couldn’t get in, so she gave a firefighter her key.
“A firefighter went in and pulled him out. I’m so grateful. Finnegan is all right.”
The building is made of six wings spread across a city block, with a main entrance on E. 9th St. The flames gutted the sixth floor of one wing, on the corner of Broadway and E. 8th. St.
“While there is terrible damage to the building, the aggressive action we took saved the other wings from a fire that spread quickly,” Nigro said. “There was heavy smoke and fire. We really had our work cut out for us.”
No residents were hurt, and five firefighters suffered minor injuries — smoke inhalation and sprains, Nigro said.