A minor electrical fire in the basement of Garden Bay Cafe (1788 Sheepshead Bay Road) brought a five-alarm response from the FDNY last night, shutting down a section of the commercial strip for about an hour.
Although the exact cause of the fire is still unclear, fire officials told the business owner that it was likely related to old wiring in the property’s basement, a problem exacerbated by recent weather, said Elena Ratevossian, the daughter of Garden Bay Cafe’s owner.
“The basement was really flooded from Hurricane Irene, so it makes sense that the old wiring got wet. The fire department said it was the old wiring that led to this,” Ratevossian said.
The call went over FDNY radios just after 10:00 p.m., and responders showed up on scene in force. At least four engines and other FDNY vehicles packed into Sheepshead Bay Road between Emmons Avenue and Shore Parkway, and a small army of firefighters took charge of the situation. They opened the street-access stairwell to the basement and ran a hose in to douse any burning electrical components, and extended a ladder to the roof to check for damage.
All-in-all, however, the damage to the building was minimal, and no one was hurt.
“I thought [the firefighters would] probably break everything, but, thank God, no,” said Narine Vardanyan, Garden Bay’s owner.
Some water damage remains in the basement, and the electrical wiring needs to be repaired and inspected before the building has power again. Ratevossian said she expects they’ll reopen for business tonight or tomorrow.
Photos by Eddie Velinskie: