Editor’s note: Here are some more photos from the fire at 72 Hester Street, and a bit more information from TLD contributor Jonathan Zalman:
Sulman Mirza, 30, an architect and resident of the building, said, “I was taking a nap and didn’t realize (the fire was happening) ’till I saw the smoke come up to the fourth floor. The building’s a mix of young twenty-somethings and Chinese people and is over 100 years old…”
(Note: The National Register Historic District Report indicates the building dates to 1869).
Sulman believes the fire began in the basement and speculated that old electrical wiring could have been to blame. “Going forward, when looking for apartments, I’m going to take the wiring into consideration,” he said.
Investigators have not determined a cause this afternoon. It does not appear anyone was seriously injured in the blaze, which looks to have started in the basement. About 60 firefighters responded to the scene. The building is the home of Mendel Goldberg Fabrics, a business that’s been on the Lower East Side since 1890.