NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Crowds gathered to observe firefighters tackle a fire in a high-rise building at 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue.

The fire broke out on the mezzanine level of the 31-story Graybar Building next to the Grand Central Terminal at around 9:15 a.m. Wednesday morning. 

The blaze grew to two alarms, before the sprinkler system extinguished the flames a short time later.

Chief Roger Sackowich said the fire started in an electrical supply room.

“All the wiring and boxes and things that were in that room – so you had a very strong, acidy smell due to the PVC coating of the electrical wires. And that — really the smoke was very difficult to breathe,” he said.

Six people were checked out after complaining of breathing problems. Three of them were taken to a hospital.

The fire prompted some evacuations of the building and heavy smoke.

“The smoke was thick and it smelled a little, like, electrical, someone mentioned it smelled like it was electrical, it didn’t smell good,” Harry Borque said.

“We left. We had to walk down through the smoke. It was all very orderly, very organized,” said a woman named Beth. “It was thick — you had to walk through thick smoke… I covered my mouth.” 

Workers were allowed back into their offices after about an hour and a half.

Grand Central Terminal was not impacted.

At around 10 a.m., firefighters were also battling a track fire at Penn Station. The fire was on track 14, which is owned by Amtrak.

That fire was caused by debris on the track.

There were no injuries.


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