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Animals Evacuated After Manhole Fire Spreads in Clinton Hill, FDNY Says

By  Janet Upadhye and Aidan Gardiner | July 23, 2013 12:10pm | Updated on July 23, 2013 1:25pm

 The fire broke out in manholes near Myrtle and Washington avenues before spreading to a building.
Myrtle Avenue Fire
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BROOKLYN — Firefighters evacuated several Myrtle Avenue buildings — including an animal clinic filled with pets — after a fire in two manholes spread to adjacent basements in Clinton Hill Tuesday morning, the FDNY and witnesses said.

The blaze erupted underground about 11 a.m. near the intersection of Myrtle and Washington avenues and quickly spread to 459 Myrtle Ave., a soul food restaurant called Five Spot, an FDNY spokesman said.

Firefighters evacuated about 30 people from six Myrtle Avenue buildings because they feared the spread of harmful carbon monoxide, fire officials said.

Staff at the Clinton Hill Animal Clinic had to carry out all of their patients, including a rabbit, several cats, and a dog named Bam Bam, who was recovering from anesthesia at the time of the fire.

Fire officials asked businesses on Myrtle Avenue to open the doors to their basements so they may be aired out.

"I heard a loud explosion that sounded like a car back-firing," said neighborhood resident Lia Whitney, 74. "Then there was a cloud of black smoke so thick I couldn't see to the next block."

The blaze was brought under control about 1:45 p.m. and marshals will determine its cause.

No injuries were reported.