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Fire at St. Mark’s Comics - The Local East Village Blog - NYTimes.com


Fire at St. Mark’s Comics


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St Mark's Comics FireIan Duncan Owner Mitch Cutler, right, surveyed the damage caused by a fire at St. Mark’s Comics.
Fire ext 1

Fire officials are investigating the cause of a blaze on St. Marks Place Thursday afternoon. The fire, at St. Mark’s Comics at 11 St. Marks Place, began shortly after 1:30 and it was declared under control about a half hour later. Officials said that one person sustained minor injuries in the fire but refused medical treatment.

Witnesses at the scene said the fire started in the building’s basement. After the blaze, the basement was dark, damp and smelled strongly of smoke but the only visible damage was a few wooden beams that had been knocked down. Most of the damage was caused to St. Mark’s Comics, a store on the building’s first floor.

James Kwiecinski, the building manager, said a man he described as a “caretaker” uses part of the basement as an art studio. Numerous landscape paintings hung on the basement’s wall.

Partially damaged comics and a wrapped Superman t-shirt littered the entrance to St. Mark’s Comics. Mitch Cutler, the owner, said he stocks potentially valuable vintage comics but he added it was “too soon to tell” the extent of the damage.

Yoshi Onoyuri, a chef and manager at Udon West, also on the building’s first floor, said fire fighters had knocked through the wall between his restaurant and the comic store.

Mr. Cutler, who has owned St. Mark’s Comics for 27 years, said water, smoke and sawdust could all damage comics. “Firemen were here with lots of water,” he said, adding that he planned to reopen the store later today.

Mr. Onoyuri said his electricity and gas were still working. “We’re waiting for the insurance company so we can reopen,” he said.

Mr. Kwiecincski said he was fully insured but could not estimate the cost of the damage.