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 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…