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NYC Fire Museum closes indefinitely, citing ‘structural integrity’ of building

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The New York City Fire Museum in Manhattan is closed indefinitely after an emergency evacuation Saturday due to concerns about its structural safety, according to its website.

“This decision comes after an emergency evacuation on Saturday, May 11, following crane operations on Spring Street that led to concerns about the structural integrity of the building,” the notice on their website reads. “The safety of our visitors and staff is our utmost priority, and this closure is a precautionary measure while we await clearance.”

The museum’s Executive Director Patti Murphy told the Daily News that on Saturday morning, employees heard a loud bang and felt the building vibrate. Its collection of around 10,000 firefighting memorabilia didn’t appear damaged, the Daily News reported.

Five complaints have been filed for the address to the Department of Buildings since then. The first two filed Saturday claim construction across the street caused the building to vibrate. On Monday and Wednesday, two more complaints were filed, claiming one of the cranes hit the museum building, “causing it to shake, vibrate and shift the floors.”

Department of Buildings spokesperson Andrew Rudanksy said the department inspected the building on Sunday and did not find any issues related to the building shaking or damage to the building. A crawler crane was staged outside on the street, however, he said.

Officials returned to the building on Wednesday for a follow-up inspection but could not access the building because it was closed, Rudanksy said. The crane was also no longer at the scene, he said.

The department found a crack in the exterior facade near the side of the building and hired a professional engineer to conduct a review, according to Rudansky. He said the DOB and city Fire Department were scheduling a full inspection on Thursday with the museum’s contracted engineer.

The museum, located at 278 Spring St., collects, preserves and displays the history of fire service in New York and provides fire prevention education to the public. Though it’s an independently operated not-for-profit, it’s been dubbed the “official museum of the FDNY.”

Attempts to reach the museum for further comment were unsuccessful.

Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said the FDNY was working with its agency partners to ensure the building was safe.

“The Department will work with the museum and our partners in the public and private sector to make sure the collection remains open to the public for years to come,” Kavanagh said.

The museum’s website does not provide a timeline for when it will reopen.

This story has been updated with additional information from the city Department of Buildings.


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