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Customers Concerned About Fate Of Safe Deposit Boxes In Wake Of Massive Citibank Blaze

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NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — A bank safe deposit box is supposed to be one of the safest places to store your valuables and important documents.

Now, dozens of customers in Manhattan are worried about the fate of their boxes following a massive fire at a Citibank branch on 111th Street and Broadway in Morningside Heights.

Peter Szabo said that he showed up to the bank on Monday hoping to learn about the fate of his safe deposit box.

“I just wanna make sure I can get my hands on it,” Szabo told CBS 2’s Don Champion, “You know, it’s a big thick steel door and the stuff that I had I happened to seal in plastic bags.”

“There were bonds in there and if it got too hot, I’m wondering about that,” Maxine Phillips told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.

Some customers complained that they were left in the dark following the fire but on Monday Citibank staffed a tent outside of the building where concerned customers came up all day to ask questions.

The bank said that no one has been allowed back inside yet and has security personnel and the NYPD securing the scene.

“We have no idea whether the vault was just against break-ins or whether it was against fire and water, because they got water in the basement,” Michael Trencher said.

It took firefighters hours to get the blaze under control and a cause has not been identified. The building is now being checked for structural integrity.

In a statement a Citibank spokesperson said that plans were being made to move safe deposit boxes.

“Regarding safe deposit boxes; we will likely move them to a central location as soon as we can do so safely,” the bank said.

Citibank said that it does not have a time frame on when it can get workers inside the bank to check on the vault. Once inside the bank said that it will contact impacted customers.

Safe deposit boxes are not secured by the FDIC. Experts recommend keeping a catalog of items in the boxes and, if possible, purchasing insurance for the items.

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