Popular Eatery Temporarily Shuttered After Blaze Tears Through 2 Buildings on Upper West Side: FDNY

An elderly woman was injured in a quick-moving fire Friday night that spread across two buildings on the Upper West Side, including one that houses a popular restaurant.

The fire started on the third floor of 509 Amsterdam Ave., then got into a shaft and shot up through the fifth floor, then spread to the building next door, no. 511, FDNY Chief of Department James Leonard said. 

With a firehouse around the corner, firefighters were able to get there in three minutes. At the height of the blaze, 170 firefighters were on the scene, Leonard said. 

Cellphone video taken by a neighbor across the street showed flames engulfing an entire apartment on the upper floor and shooting straight through the roof. Leonard said several rooms were burning when firefighters got there. 

Fires inside aging buildings like those -- over 100 years old, by Leonard's estimate -- can be difficult to fight, but the firefighters' speedy response and familiarity with the structure of the buildings helped. 

The elderly woman was not seriously injured. The FDNY said four firefighters were also injured, but they're expected to be OK.

Jacob's Pickles, the restaurant housed at 509 Amsterdam Ave., wasn't burned but it was affected by the fire in other ways.

"They're gonna get water damage, they're gonna be out of business for a little while," said Leonard. "They're gonna need to shut down the gas and power, until Con Ed can deem it safe." 

The restaurant said in a Facebook post: "The JP team is fine! We are thinking of our friends next door and sending all our positive vibes their way. We apologize for how this has affected your evenings and hope we have your understanding. We will do anything required by the NYPD and NYFD [sic] to ensure all measures taken to subdue the fire go as smoothly as possible." 

The restaurant said Jacob's Pickles' menu was being offered at Maison Pickle, a sister restaurant. 

FDNY officials said Saturday that the accidental fire was caused by an electrical extension cord.

"Fire Marshals: Cause of 2/24 4-alarm, 511 Amsterdam Avenue MN was accidental, electrical extension cord. Smoke alarm present, operational," fire officials tweeted.

Contact Us