EAST VILLAGE — Popular French bistro Flea Market Cafe on Avenue A caught fire Monday afternoon, authorities said.
The fire broke out in the restaurant at 131 Avenue A between St. Mark's Place and East Ninth Street across from Tompkins Square Park just after 1:20 p.m. It was under control by 1:45 p.m., fire officials said.
A firefighter was treated at the scene for minor injuries, an FDNY official said.
Victor Gjoka, 45, the superintendent of 131 Avenue A, said he was walking by and immediately noticed the broken glass, and spotted flames inside the building on Monday. He called 911 and ran to the sushi restraurant next door, where he grabbed a fire extinguisher and tried to battle the flames himself before FDNY crews arrived.
He said he ran to the back of the building where the kitchen is located and checked for any sign of staff, but there was no one there.
He added the restaurant opens for business at 4 p.m., but is often open earlier to staff for deliveries and cleaning. He said one of the metal rolldown gates was closed at the time, but the other was open.
Witness Victor Cruz was standing across the street in Tompkins Square Park when he saw the flames shooting up behind the window.
"I thought it was a barbeque or something but it just [kept] getting bigger," said Cruz, 42, of the East Village.
The entrance of the popular weekend brunch spot was scorched, with charred furniture and broken glass strewn across the sidewalk in front of the restaurant.
The cause of the fire was under investigation, FDNY officials said. Fire marshals remained at the scene hours after the blaze to investigate.