A seven-alarm fire tore through the Kings Plaza Shopping Center in Brooklyn on Monday, causing damage to up to 100 cars, New York’s ABC7 reports.
The fire ran through the second and third floors of the parking garage, which shopping center officials report was the location that a local car dealership would store its stock. A large amount of said inventory has been lost due to the fires.
Almost 300 firefighters attended the scene to contain the blaze — which has now been contained — but the Fire Department of New York has advised that people stay away from the area as smoke is still dissipating from the structure. The mall has closed due to the smoke that made its way into the building proper from the parking garage.
21 people are being treated for smoke inhalation at nearby medical facilities, with 18 firefighters and three others requiring treatment, said the FDNY in a statement.
“None of these 21 injuries is life-threatening or critical, everyone is stable. Our members have various levels of smoke inhalation, heat exhaustion, working under those conditions. Smoke and heat, wearing what they wear, one can only imagine what they are going through.”
An investigation into circumstances surrounding the blaze will be forthcoming, with the FDNY already starting the process. The department has locked down the area in order to look into what happened.
BREAKING: Fire at Kings Plaza shopping center is now a 6 alarm. Multiple marine units have been requested to try and fight the blaze from the water. pic.twitter.com/Kl5esS3B6m
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) September 17, 2018
“We are not sure yet how many of them [cars] burned, but many of these cars were involved in this fire, creating, if you [were] here earlier, a huge amount of black smoke, a very large fire, confronting our people,” said an FDNY official.
The first priority for the FDNY has been to check for any damage to the parking structure before the mall can be reopened to the public, reported Fox News.
People present in the area when the blaze began reported hearing ‘explosions’ which drew firefighters attention to the area. Eyewitness accounts from the scene reported that there were explosions, with FDNY officials explaining that those explosions likely came from tires bursting.
Several of the cars were on fire when firefighters arrived, and the fire was successfully contained to just the second and third floors — despite the force of the fire and the number of vehicles in the parking structure.
CBS News reports that the fire began before the Kings Plaza mall opened, breaking out at 9 a.m. while the mall normally opens at 10 a.m. This happenstance will likely have limited the damage somewhat, as well as protected a potential loss of human life.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined — pending further investigation as alluded to above.