An early morning blaze broke out in Sunnyside on Thursday, Aug. 12, and quickly turned to a four-alarm fire that damaged multiple businesses along Queens Boulevard.
The fire began around 7:25 a.m. at Taiyo Foods, a popular Japanese market located in a one-story commercial building at 45-08 44th St., across from the Sunnyside Post Office. FDNY arrived at the scene within four minutes.
Flames spread next door to Yeserith Esthetics and then to Mad Cafe located across Queens Boulevard from the elevated 7 train, but smoke conditions did not slow the morning rush.
Within an hour, the blaze went to four alarms. More than 200 firefighters and EMS personnel responded using five hose lines to knock down the fire, which was placed under control around 9:45 a.m.
Mad for Chicken and Bajeko Sekuna, a Nepalese restaurant, were damaged during the fire reminiscent of a 2018 five-alarm inferno just a block away that destroyed several beloved Sunnyside establishments including Sidetracks and New York Eats.
No one was inside the buildings at the time of the fire, but FDNY reported three firefighters were injured while battling the blaze.
“FDNY members had an approximate four-minute response time to the scene. We had fire in the Japanese restaurant to start with smoke pushing out. We started with an aggressive interior attack. Fire quickly spread to other occupancies in the building. We have five occupancies affected by this fire. We have three non-life-threatening firefighter injuries and no civilian injuries at this time,” Chief of Operations John Hodgens said at the scene of the fire Thursday morning.
“Whenever there are fires in severe heat conditions that are weather-related, it’s always a challenge for us. We encourage our members to always stay hydrated, wear loose clothing, and to be very cognizant in operating in these conditions. We provide relief to our members faster than we normally do to keep them safe. Right now, our fire marshals are investigating the cause of the fire,” Hodgens added.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer surveyed the damage along Queens Boulevard.
“I am told there are no serious injuries, we are grateful for the FDNY response,” Van Bramer said on Twitter. “And of course will do all we can to help the affected small businesses & those whose jobs are impacted.”
Sunnyside Shines, the area BID, set up a GoFundMe page to raise relief funds for workers displaced by the destruction. The campaign had raised more than $3,000 as of noon on Thursday.
Those looking to donate can do so here.
Thank you to everyone who has given so far to our fire relief fund for this morning’s fire. We are working with the small businesses affected on business recovery and raising funds to benefit displaced employees: https://t.co/G41dxyqedp
— Sunnyside Shines (@SunnysideShines) August 12, 2021
Fire marshals are investigating the cause of the fire, according to the FDNY.