Kips Bay Fire Causes Rush-Hour Traffic Delays Near Queens Midtown Tunnel

By Alan Neuhauser on June 19, 2012 8:05am 

More than 60 firefighters responded to a basement blaze at a six-story apartment building Kips Bay early Tuesday, May 19, 2012, FDNY officials said.
More than 60 firefighters responded to a basement blaze at a six-story apartment building Kips Bay early Tuesday, May 19, 2012, FDNY officials said.
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DNAinfo/Chelsia Rose Marcius

KIPS BAY — A basement fire at an apartment building on East 34th Street injured three firefighters and forced authorities to close a portion of the busy thoroughfare near the Queens Midtown Tunnel at the start of morning rush hour, causing severe traffic delays, officials said. 

More than 60 firefighters from more than 12 units responded to the blaze, which broke out at 320 E. 34th St. about 5:39 a.m., according to the FDNY. The fire was brought under control about an hour later, officials said.

Three firefighters suffered minor injuries in the blaze and were transported to Bellevue Hospital Center for treatment, a fire source said.

As firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze, authorities closed East 34th Street between First and Second avenues, where an entrance to the Queens Midtown Tunnel funnels traffic during the morning rush.

The city's Office of Emergency Management told motorists to "expect extensive traffic delays." 

The road reopened shortly before 7 a.m., fire officials said, but the closure caused continued snarls in the area.

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