The Chelsea Market complex was temporarily evacuated early Tuesday afternoon after a fire broke out on the roof of the massive block-long building, home to NY1. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Instead of covering the news, NY1 was the news Tuesday afternoon. A smoky fire broke out on the roof of Chelsea Market, where we are located.
"I was writing up a story, I had my headphones on, and Amanda came over to my desk and kind of banged on it and said, 'Erin, we have to go, it is a fire.' It took me a second to actually realize what was going on. Then you stopped and smelled the smoke," said NY1 Bronx reporter Erin Clarke.
The thick smoke covered the windows of the building along 15th Street.
Many others who work inside the Chelsea Market smelled the smoke and quickly evacuated the building with NY1 staffers.
"I was working on this week's On Stage. I was in the middle of writing a script, and I saw our colleague Josh Robin walk out and say, 'Fire, fire.' I literally grabbed my iPad, grabbed my bag and ran out the door with everyone else," said NY1 On Stage host Frank DiLella.
The FDNY says about 75 firefighters responded when the call came in around 12:15 p.m.
Maintenance workers were cleaning cooling towers on the roof when something went wrong.
"They were in the process of being serviced, disinfected and drained," said FDNY Assistant Chief Michael Gala. "One of the cooling towers caught fire. Our units quickly stretched a hose line up to the roof."
The fire was put out in about 30 minutes. Hundreds of people were evacuated from the building, which is also home to MLB.com and the Food Network, among other companies.
At one point, people were allowed back into the building, but they were quickly told they had to leave again. The fire department said it was better for people to stay outside while it double-checked everything.
Workers from restaurants on the first floor didn't seem moved by the situation like those on the upper floors whose officers were closer to the fire and smoke.
"We weren't really that afraid because like I said, it didn't seem like a big deal here on the first floor for us," said one worker. "And everything seemed like totally normal. We would have been scared if we had to evacuate."
The FDNY says one person suffered minor smoke inhalation. A part of the building sustained minor water damage.
As for NY1, we remained on the air and were back at our desks in an hour.