Macy's flagship store in New York evacuated due to fire

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Macy's flagship store in Herald Square, New York City, was evacuated due to a two-alarm fire on Sunday. The fire started in an escalator and smoke began to spread throughout the department store. Nobody was seriously injured, however thick smoke was present. The fire was reported at 16:00 EDT (21:00 UTC) and the store reopened at around 18:00 EDT (23:00 UTC) and will stay open until 18:00 EDT Christmas eve, according to Macy's spokesperson Elina Kazan.

The Macy's store in Herald Square
Image: PlusMinus.

"Real smoky, you could hardly breathe on the third floor [...] everybody had to wear masks." shopper Raysha Oliver said to the local CBS affiliate. Oliver also said that those without masks had to cover their faces with cloths. Customers were still attempting to complete purchases "I got some already, but had to put the rest of it aside," Oliver said.

New York City Fire Department officials estimate that about 5000 customers were displaced during the fire, although some waited the two hours for the store to reopen. Shopper Stanley Rafal said that "it's going to kill a lot of business." Macy's executive Patti Lee said that she could not estimate the financial toll which the fire took and that "We're just pleased no one was hurt".