Longtime, popular Midtown Chinese restaurant Szechuan Gourmet went up in flames on Tuesday night, with the New York City Fire Department pointing to “careless cooking in [the] kitchen with extension into duct work” and no smoke alarms as the cause of the fire that injured 15.
The fire started in the ductwork of the six-story building’s walls, FDNY officials told Patch, and the fire department responded to a call at 4:13 p.m. By 8 p.m., the fire was under control, with more than 150 emergency responders on the scene. Fourteen of the 15 injured people were firefighters, who were taken to the hospital in stable condition according to fire officials.
FDNY chief of department James Leonard called the fire “stubborn” and said injuries were due to “fallen debris and heat exhaustion.” He added that the extreme weather contributed to the difficulty in battling the blaze. Photos below on the scene show a lot of smoke and flames.
Szechuan Gourmet, located at 21 West 39th St., between Fifth and Sixth avenues, is one of the better Sichuan restaurants in the city, serving classic dishes like mapo tofu. A decade ago, the Times awarded it two stars for its high heat levels; the restaurant was also on the Eater 38 for years and is still on the Michelin Bib Gourmand list.
Szechuan Gourmet manager Cynthia Yuu declined to comment as she was dealing with the restoration company and insurance company.