Fire on 217th Street: March 23, 2012


I was awakened by screams in the middle of the night to discover one of the houses on 217th Street was on fire.  I shot this video of the blaze from my roof.  My prayers go out to those who have lost their home.  I am elated to learn that everyone made it out safely.

And still more video…

529 West 217th Street before the fire.
Another shot of the house before the fire
Lost Inwood Amazon link


  1. The fire was first reported at 3:00, and was placed under control an hour and 31 minutes later. It was a gas-fed fire that spread from a manhole outside, to the basement and up through the rest of the fire building. There was a slight extension to the building next door, which was put out immediately. One firefighter was injured; there are no reports of civilian injuries. Con Ed cut power to 77 Park Terrace East in order to help contain the fire. All buildings in the immediate area were checked for elevated carbon monoxide levels and were found to be fine.

  2. I live directly behind this lovely row of houses, in 100 PTW. An explosion at 3 AM woke me up, and I heard screaming. The fire department got there fast and immediately broke out the windows and doors, searched the burning building (they really are New York’s Bravest), and put out the fire. If anyone reading this blog knows the homeowners, please post if there’s any way their neighbors can help them. This must be a devastating experience and my heart goes out to them.

  3. Yes, I just read that all the residents got out safely. I’m at 97 PTW, and man, this was scary. I couldn’t believe how fast the fire department arrived after the blast! My heart goes out to anyone affected by this.

  4. i know the homeowners and am trying to get in touch w/ them before posting names or any info. as soon as i know anything that i can share, i will.

  5. I heard an explosion at 2:54am; 10 mins later the transformer fire under 217th street woke me back up. That’s a sound I won’t soon forget – and the sight of the flames shooting up out of the manhole will stay with me for a while too. Glad to read that the homeowners are OK, although we did see the firefighter being carried away on a stretcher.

  6. The family was allowed in the house to grab a few things. I know they have relatives in the area, so they have a place to stay. I am friends with a nephew and can post if they need anything.

    My understanding is also that ConEd doesn’t know what caused this and expect that the investigation/resolution may take a few days. Talked to one neighbor who was told to stay in a hotel for two days while their building’s power was cut while they figure out the cause.

    NBC was quoting 10 firefighters were treated with injuries. I only saw 2. Anyone else? Truly amazing how fast from when I woke up to the firecracker popping noises, then screams, and walking out my front door to see a house engulfed in flames. A true miracle that no one was hurt.

  7. Wow, what a nightmare…Thanks for sharing the news!
    Elizabeth, please pass along everyone’s best wishes to the homeowners, and please let us know if we can help at all. It was wonderful to see how the Inwood community joined together to help people affected by the 207th St. fire after New Year’s…

  8. I live next door to the house that was on fire. 95 Park Terrace East and my son woke me up after he heard an explosion. He said the manhole went flying into the sky and when it landed it sounded like a coin wobbling around. Our electricity was flickering and of course you could not escape the smell of fire but otherwise I am thankful that knowbody was hurt.

  9. My friend’s parents lived in one part the house. Their section didn’t do up in flames because of the firewall that divides the two homes but the firefighters destroyed everything. He’s a pastor and she’s a social worker. The sweetest people you could ever meet. They are devastated but we are soo glad that the Rivera’s are physically ok.

  10. Not sure if this has been mentioned before but the news mentioned that 40 years ago this was a Judge’s house and there was a huge fire here set by the Weather Underground. So much history. Perhaps it’s haunted? Ah local lore.

  11. Both Horrific and Heroic – video really helps to tell the story of what firefighters
    do when the alarm goes off …………thanks for sharing. And, truly a wonderful
    thing to learn that the neighbors and Red Cross came to help the residents who
    lost their home that night. Good job Inwood, good job New York’s finest.

    owen’s gm

  12. I was so horrified to find out about this. This was my father’s best friend’s house, married to my godmother and it was a central part of my family since I was in diapers. I had so many memories of that place. My family spent Thanksgiving there most of my life. My heart goes out to my uncle and godmother, their daughter and housekeeper and their son. I hope they are able to salvage some of the many family heirlooms and keepsakes as well as the many fond memories of that wonderful warm New York home.

  13. FYI, i have found another video on youtube of this fire. One of the firemen injured fell from the top of a ladder which was extended to the third story. He fell from the top all the way to the ground. While watching the first video, you can hear the fall and the subsequent “Mayday Mayday Mayday” call from his fellow members in the rear of the building at about the 6:31 mark. Its faint but after watching both videos a few times it becomes obvious. Have you all heard anyword who the firemen was and his injuries?

    Firemen from Colorado

  14. Thank you everyone for your comments. My parents house was attached to one that had the fire. Everyone was able to get out okay, although their neighbors lost their home and all of their belongings in the fire. My parents’ house had severe damage and lost many of their personal belongings. Everyone in the community has been wonderful! The outpour of support and energy has been tremendous help. Thank you to everyone. My family is truly grateful.

  15. Sorry to see that house go up in flames , I was the mailman in that area for 10 years , back in the 1990’s. I’m happy no one was hurt. Hope the fireman is ok.


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