Smoky Fire Hits Former Key Food Site
By Charles Rogers
Thick, black smoke inundated the area in and around the Brooklyn Terminal Market last Thursday morning as firefighters from local companies, including those from Canarsie, East New York and Mill Basin, fought a debris fire for more than two hours, according to Fire Department sources.
No one was injured in the blaze, but some merchants from the market said that, while the smoke "bothered" them, it did not disrupt business to any great extent.
Firefighters said the fire and smoke were hard to contain because of the gusty winds. The day of the fire was cited by meteorologists as the coldest day of the season, with winds gusting as much as 50 miles per hour at times, essentially contributing to the reason it was hard to quell.
The fire started within the gutted former Key Food building at Foster Avenue and East 89th Street, for years the central location of the food chain's distribution center. Within the past year, the building was sold and is now a construction site for a proposed Home Depot.
Fire department sources said the fire "probably" originated with an acetylene torch "or some other device" too close to some piles of debris, although that could not be confirmed or corroborated. The source said, though, that the fire was not of a suspicious origin.
Just a few hours after the Canarsie blaze, fire rigs were sent from here and other Brooklyn firehouses to Crown Heights, where a fire had erupted in a 14th floor apartment in the Ebbets Field Apartments where Lt. John Martinson, of Engine Co. 249 in Greenpoint, was killed in the line of duty fire. His funeral took place on Tuesday.