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Houston Street Fire – Friday Followup

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What a difference 18 hours makes.  Last night’s chaotic scene at 240 East Houston Street has been replaced by relative calm this morning. The ground floor deli is open, while all other stores remain closed. A small group gathered on the sidewalk, discussing when and how some residents might be allowed to re-enter their apartments. Here’s the latest:

The Village Voice reports:

…the building vacate may be lifted some time today for some apartments, but the apartments on the 4th and 5th floors are “permanently” vacated (meaning they are most likely destroyed). 12 Avenue A, next to 240 E. Houston, is also under a temporary vacate order. Any residents affected by the fire can call 1-877-REDCROSS for assistance.

Today’s New York Post featured that amazing overhead photo Josh Spear shot yesterday. We (and every other web site) posted the image yesterday afternoon. Josh, a new media guru, announced on his Twitter feed that he was asking major news outlets to make a $500 donation to the FDNY Foundation. The Post complied.

Many people on the scene yesterday complimented the fire department, which as usual, responded very quickly and extinguished the blaze in short order. Mary Spink, a Community Board 3 member and longtime neighborhood activist, was among those looking on as firefighters braved the heat and flames yesterday.  It was, she suggested, another demonstration, if one was needed, that no neighborhood fire companies can be shuttered. Last week the NYFD narrowly averted another round of budget cuts that could have closed 20 companies citywide.

There were, of course, several side shows on Houston Street yesterday.  Longtime LES photographer Clayton Patterson razzed a cop, bitterly complaining about the NYPD’s ridiculous policy banning non-mainstream journalists from going behind police and fire lines.

And then there was the food angle (there’s always a food angle). Eric Wines, co-owner of Ludlow Street restaurant Tre, sent Eater a shot, indicating brisk business for the Ice Man.

Finally have a look at the great video and still images on Gamma Blog.

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