2015-02-18 / Front Page

Blaze Injures Three

BY LIZ GOFF


Michael’s Restaurant at 33-17 Broadway was damaged when the apartments above it caught fire at 2:47 a.m. on February 15. The two-alarm blaze injured two people and one firefighter and left nearly a dozen people homeless. 
Photo Jason D. Antos Michael’s Restaurant at 33-17 Broadway was damaged when the apartments above it caught fire at 2:47 a.m. on February 15. The two-alarm blaze injured two people and one firefighter and left nearly a dozen people homeless. Photo Jason D. Antos City fire marshals this week are combing through the fire-damaged remains of two Astoria apartments to determine what set off a two-alarm blaze that tore through the building at 33-17 Broadway early on the morning of February 15, sending two people and one firefighter to local hospitals and leaving nearly a dozen people homeless.

Firefighters said the blaze that destroyed the apartments also caused major damage to Michael’s Restaurant, a local dining landmark, located on the first level of the building.

The blaze broke out at about 2:47 a.m. in an apartment above the restaurant, where workers closing up for the night smelled smoke and called 911.

“Those guys were lucky,” an eyewitness said. “They just got outside when all hell broke loose.”

Red Cross volunteers remained at the site throughout the day on February 15, offering support services to the displaced residents.

Residents who ran to the street watched as flames quickly engulfed the two top floors of the brick building, eyewitnesses said.

“They were really, really lucky to get out in one piece,” the onlookers said.

The residents huddled against the cold while more than 60 firefighters from 12 units battled frigid, blustery winds to bring the blaze under control in just over one hour, fire sources said.

Michael’s Restaurant first opened in 1964 and last year celebrated 50 years at the same location. The popular restaurant showcased historic photos of Astoria and Long Island City on its walls, images of the neighborhood as it changed and evolved during the years.

“What a shame,” one onlooker said. “That is the only place around here where you can go for a quick meal, a birthday or to just sit and enjoy your dinner,” the woman said. “I hope they have copies of the photos. I always took my friends there to show them the photos.”

Workers clearing rubble from the restaurant on Sunday afternoon said they are sure Michael’s will reopen as soon as repairs are completed.

The owner was unavailable for comment.

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