Harlem fire burns through row of businesses

Josh Einiger reports from Harlem.
December 14, 2013 9:26:57 AM PST
Investigators are on the scene of a massive fire that burned through a row of businesses in Harlem.

The five-alarm fire started in a hair salon at 212 West 145th Street at 7:45 p.m. Friday, and wasn't declared under control until 9:15 Saturday morning.

The fire spread to the cockloft of a row of stores with a church and a memorial chapel on either side of the hair salon.

Firefighters say they were able to contain the flames to the five buildings already damaged.

The Gospel Spreading Church of God and the James L. Perkins Memorial Chapel were fully engulfed in flames. A dollar store and another church also caught fire as the blaze spread.

The fire hit especially hard for one family, whose loved one was inside the funeral home ahead of her burial on Monday.

"She passed away while he was on his way going back home, and he came back up here to bury his mother, and now we have a fire in the chapel where she's going to be buried," said a family member.

Firefighters battled the fire from outside the buildings. They were pulled from the inside of the buildings because of the intensity of the flames.

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries.