Fire In Basement Prompts Evacuation Of Macy’s Herald Square Store

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Wednesday afternoon fire at Macy’s in Herald Square prompted an evacuation of the iconic store.

The blaze started at around 3:15 p.m. in the basement of the flagship store, which was emptied for more than 2 hours, CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis reported.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell Reports On The Story

“The fire alarm went off and they told us to ignore it and then it went off again and they told us to get out,” one shopper told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.

The smell of smoke on the 34th Street side of the store convinced a lot of people it was time to go.  When people started rushing out, one store employee said he was surprised.

“It was a one-day sale, they’d go down in the fire before they miss that,” he joked to Haskell.

The fire was confined to an area already closed to customers and which was undergoing renovations. Phil Iannarone, shopping on the 9th floor, said he had to drop everything and take the stairs.

“We started on the 9th floor and we just made our way down — hundreds of people on the stairs,” he told Dennis.

“Everything was well-organized, and everybody was safe,” witness Lucy Lopez added.

There were no serious injuries as a result of the fire, but some firefighters did make contact with an asbestos-removal project inside and had to have their gear decontaminated.

damaged macys display window Fire In Basement Prompts Evacuation Of Macys Herald Square Store

Damaged Macy's display window (credit: CBS 2)

Soon after, the store reopened for the night — business as usual.

The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation. Macy’s plans to have its display window fixed and decorated again, soon.

Macy’s Herald Square was built in 1902 — well before modern building codes were created. It was designated a national historic landmark in 1978.

Were you shopping at Macy’s during Wednesday’s fire?  Let us know in the comments section below…

  • DAliverto

    I was in the Ladies room when the Fireman came down into the basement. We waited till the alarms started, then left. It was very organized, all the depts seemed to be together and stayed together outside. Outside NYFD had all the equipment out and ready, a few of the trucks were already in the store. Everyone was treated kindly, no pushing or shoving and the employees tried to direct you out. New York Macy’s employees and NYFD did a fine job of keeping the situation under control. I did get to see the Brazil flower tent, BEAUTIFUL!!

  • Employee X

    I am an employee and was working during the fire. it was only vacant for about a half hour before they told the employees to go back inside. it was very organized but in the fire exit stairwell there were signs warning of asbestos abatement and I’m worried all of us in that stairwell might have some health issues. we were inhaling that stuff from the 6th floor until we made our way to street level. I’m already coughing and have a strange weezing sensation in my lungs. a doctors appointment is coming soon for me and i advise anyone that went down the fire exit stairwells to do the same.

    • Employee X

      Then again, it could have just been all the thick, heavy dust from lack of use. still, no good for the lungs.

  • Att. Hoar

    Talk about a “Fire Sale” (Punch Line Drum)

  • mridha

    life is precious than macy’s any ‘sell’ items.Thanks God no casualty was reported.

  • yknipp

    I think Punk FDNY is a NYPD man.

  • K

    Ha Ha Ha “It was a one-day sale, they’d go down in the fire before they miss that,” he joked. Minimum wage holds no bars against the truth!

  • LI Teacher

    u r an idiot

    • Huntrex

      At least Punk can spell correctly.

      • yknipp

        No he can’t. FDNY is with capital letters….douch!

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