By Benjamin Fractenberg and Nicole Bode
EAST VILLAGE — Shaken tenants of an East Sixth Street apartment building had a case of deja-vu Tuesday when they had to be evacuated twice for the same fire, residents said.
The initial fire broke out in a first-floor restaurant around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday at 507 E. 6th St. near Avenue A and appeared to be under control by 8:30 a.m., a spokesman for the fire department said.
Tenants at the scene said they were cleared to go back inside after that, only to have to flee the building again because of excessive smoke.
"They said stay in the apartment until management comes. as it turns out, fire's still going," said Paul Canetti, 27, who lives on the third floor. "After five minutes we felt we were going to faint," so Canetti and his neighbors left the building again.
The FDNY confirmed that units left the scene after the first incident, and that they were called back to the scene because of "smoldering areas" in the floorboards between the first and second floor that had not been extinguished. One firefighter was treated for minor injuries, fire offials said.
The second round of the fire was put out shortly after 10 a.m., FDNY officials said. No tenants were allowed back into the building after the second incident, according to witnesses.
An FDNY spokesman said he could not comment on whose decision it was to allow the tenants back into the building.
Fire Marshals investigating the scene discovered the smoldering embers and summoned the firefighters back, an FDNY spokesman said. But witnesses said NYPD officers were also involved at the scene and had been directing tenants and asking for someone to call the fire crews back to the smoldering area.