6th St. Residents Still Reeling After Fire

507 E. 6 St., After the FireSuzanne Rozdeba A day after a fire that destroyed the 6th Street Kitchen restaurant and severely damaged several apartments above it, displaced residents of the building are still trying to cope with damage from the blaze and an uncertain timetable for a return to their homes. Below: Damage to a third-floor apartment.
507 E. 6th St. Fire
507 E. 6th St. FirePaul Canetti

When David Gold stopped by his apartment on East Sixth street Tuesday evening, hours after a fire ripped through the restaurant on the first floor, he couldn’t bear the smell.

“It smells terrible. It’s like being around the biggest campfire you’ve ever seen – in a closed apartment,” Mr. Gold told The Local earlier today. “You get a headache after being in there for 10 minutes. There was no way I could sleep there. It’s that bad.”

Instead, Mr. Gold spent the night at his girlfriend’s apartment. “I’m assuming I’ll be there at least a week until it’s cleaned up.”

Mr. Gold’s apartment was one of eight that firefighters stormed through after a blaze broke out in 6th Street Kitchen, the restaurant on the first floor of the building at 507 East Sixth Street. While the building’s management has already begun repair work, there is no timetable yet for when residents might be able to return. In the meantime, Mr. Gold and his displaced neighbors have taken temporary refuge with friends and family.

Even as residents adjusted to their jarring, new living arrangements, a fire department spokesman told The Local today that officials were continuing to investigate two fires that broke out there yesterday morning, and an earlier blaze at a bodega on Second Avenue and Fourth Street.

While Mr. Gold applauded the work of the firefighters, he’s left with torn-up floors, ripped-open walls, and broken furniture. “There’s so much smoke damage that I don’t know yet if it can be cleaned. If damage is bad enough, you have to replace your whole wardrobe.”

The management company of the East Sixth Street building already had workers repairing apartments last night, said Mr. Gold. “They’re cleaning up the walls, floors, and ceilings, and the smashed windows and doors. The problem is, I can’t really go back there until it’s done. Hopefully, they’ll do a quick job.”

While Mr. Gold’s apartment will eventually be restored, 6th Street Kitchen, which had quickly become a neighborhood favorite, is in ruins and its future remains uncertain.

“Chris is a wreck,” Annie Wang, a publicist for the restaurant, told The Local referring to Chris Genoversa, the restaurant’s owner. “Right now, we’re going through all our options. The staff is taking it pretty hard.”

Ms. Wang said Mr. Genoversa was told by the fire department that there seemed to have been an electrical fire in the restaurant, but an investigation is still pending. “It was the FDNY that called him yesterday morning to tell him about the fire. When I talked to him, he was just speechless. You could tell in the tone of his voice he was completely torn apart. He’s invested so much money into the place. We were all really optimistic about the New Year.”

“There are still a lot of things going on before Chris can make a decision on what to do next,” Ms. Wang said. “I don’t know how long it would take to fix the place up. It’s a complete mess.”