Firefighters responded to what is being described as an electrical fire at the Red Barn Farms Fruit and Vegetable store at 306 86th Street at around 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24.
The store was still open at the time and an employee evacuated the shop with two young customers and called 9-1-1 after they smelled smoke. No one was injured.
The fire started under the fridge; it was electrical, I think, but we don’t know what happened yet, said Gina Tamzarian as she stood on the sidewalk watching firefighters pump water through the door and place a large fan to get out all the smoke. [The boy] noticed it first and I looked and called for help straightaway. The smoke was spreading fast.
Thirteen-year-old Mohamed Seidi had stopped by the grocery store on his bike to pick up yogurt and diet Pepsi for his grandfather when the fire apparently broke out.
When we first went in, we smelled it, but we thought it was in the street. [Then] there was smoke coming and we didn’t know where from, said Seidi. Then we heard a pop and saw it was under the refrigerator, coming up. I couldn’t breathe and we ran out and called 9-1-1.
According to FDNY Battalion Chief Brennan, the fire appears to have begun with the motor under the fridge. It probably overheated or shorted and then probably started to burn the floor underneath, he told this paper.
So in addition to the motor itself burning, the wires started burning, too. The situation upstairs was clear – no carbon monoxide or smoke. It was fortunate that it happened when the store was open when people were there [to report it].