UPPER EAST SIDE — A fire that broke out inside a building on First Avenue early Tuesday caused extensive damage to apartments and a ground-floor hookah bar, authorities and tenants said.
The blaze started shortly before 2 a.m. Tuesday on the second floor of 1134 First Ave., a six-story residential building near East 62nd Street that houses the tapas restaurant and hookah bar La Nuit on the first floor, the FDNY said. It was extinguished about 2:36 a.m., and there were no injuries, officials said.
“We were watching TV and my daughter smelled smoke,” said Kristin Joo, who lives in the building behind 1134 First Ave. “Just as we started to see some flames coming up from the lower floors, we heard the sirens and the firemen arrived.”
The fire department is still investigating the cause of the blaze, but the building's super and others at the scene Tuesday said it may have been electrical.
Adam Daniels, a representative from the building’s management company, said the apartments on the second and third floors sustained the most damage and will need extensive repairs.
Tenants in the rest of the building will be able to return within 24 hours, once the heat and electricity are turned back on, he explained.
It may take longer for La Nuit to reopen due to the water damage the venue sustained, representatives from the restaurant said. Alec Gefer, a friend of the owner who had come to inspect the aftermath at the owner’s request, said that it would be at least a week before the venue could reopen.
“There’s around $30,000 of damage,” Gefer said. “It’s everything from the TVs over the bar, the speakers, the DJ system, the furniture. So it’s a lot.”
Rachel Manrique, who moved into a fifth-floor apartment a few weeks ago with her husband and two small children, said she was relieved no one was hurt in the fire.
“The fire alarm turned on in the middle of the night,” she said. “We woke up and smelled smoke and got out.”