Fire tears through restaurant near Times Square, spreads to 2 buildings

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Dray Clark reports on an early-morning fire that started in a restaurant and spread to other buildings

A three-alarm fire burned through a restaurant in Midtown Tuesday morning, closing Seventh Avenue just north of Times Square.

Two people were injured in the fire, which started around 5 a.m. in the TSQ Brasserie Restaurant and spread to neighboring buildings.

"There definitely was some serious flames, if we're seeing embers come up a 45-foot billboard," witness Jessie Rothman said.

He was just wrapping up a recording session on the 13th floor at 723 Seventh Avenue when the fire alarm went off.

"I looked out the window, and I saw a lot of smoke," he said. "So we immediately got out of there."

The blaze reached three alarms and spread through the duct work to two adjoining buildings. Around 150 firefighters responded and knew early on what they were up against.

"Actually a block away, the entire street was full of smoke," Assistant Fire Chief Joseph Pfeifer said. "We knew we had a substantial fire."

Firefighters quickly gained the upper hand, but not fast enough to save two of the buildings left in ruins. One firefighter and one civilian suffered minor injuries. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

"It was difficult, but our firefighters did a great job of putting the fire out," Pfeifer said.

Traffic around Times Square was also brought to a near the scene, at the peak of the rush hour.

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