By Matt Gryta
NEWS STAFF REPORTER
A two-alarm fire Tuesday night at a vacant 2½-story frame building at 188 Grant St. caused $140,000 in damage to the building and two adjacent buildings that were occupied.
Just before 11 p.m., Division Fire Chief Peter Kertzie ordered emergency demolition to the heavily damaged building. Kertzie noted that there were initial concerns that the second floor was occupied. The call came in about 9:40 p.m.
Kertzie, however, said firefighters found “signs of someone staying overnight there” from time to time but no one was found in the building. A dozen fire trucks and 55 firefighters were called to the scene and two ladder trucks were used to battle flames that had spread to the attic.
Residents of apartments in buildings next to 188 Grant were asked to leave their homes and Grant was closed to traffic from Lafayette Avenue to Auburn Avenue.
Kertzie listed damage to 188 Grant at $120,000, with $10,000 to contents – mattresses stored on the first floor by owners of the Casa Bonita furniture and appliance store at 192 Grant. He estimated damage – primarily water – to adjacent structures at $5,000 each.
Deputy Fire Commissioner Vincent Muscarella, who arrived at the scene, praised firefighters for a “fabulous job” in keeping the fire from spreading to other buildings.
Kertzie noted that gas and electric service had been disconnected from 188 Grant months ago.
No injuries were reported. Ambulance crews had been called to the scene as a precaution.
Fire crews remained at the scene until past midnight, clearing up debris. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.