Large Fire Damages Businesses in Harlem

By Tracie Strahan
|  Saturday, Dec 14, 2013  |  Updated 12:00 PM EDT
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Large Fire Damages Businesses in Harlem

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Nearly 200 firefighters battled a large fire that damaged several businesses in Harlem Friday night and Saturday morning.

The fire was reported inside a hair salon at 212 W. 145th St. at about 7:45 p.m. Friday. It escalated to four alarms by late Friday night and took firefighters more than 12 hours to extinguish.

Crews of 198 firefighters used three tower ladders to put out the flames. Five businesses were destroyed or seriously damaged, according to fire officials.

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries as a result of the blaze.

One of the businesses that was destroyed was a funeral home, and a man said his mother's remains were destroyed by the fire.

"They was getting her ready for the funeral," said Henry Thomas through tears, referring to his mother as his best friend.

Kenroy Watson, a pastor at the Crown of Life Love Ministry church, which was next door to the salon, said he received a call about the fire and immediately "started praying" when he saw the flames.

One resident said he asked the Red Cross to relocate him to a local hotel because the smoke that entered was too overpowering for him and his family.

"Both windows were open," said Tony Mpande, adding that this didn't provide enough ventilation to air the smoke out.

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