3-alarm fire burns SoHo rooftop as neighbor tries to help firefighters with garden hose

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, June 20, 2024
Neighbor helps firefighters put out fire with garden hose
Kemberly Richardson talks with the good Samaritan who helped firefighters battle a fire on the roof of a SoHo building.

SOHO, Manhattan (WABC) -- A three-alarm fire burned on the roof of a SoHo building and one good Samaritan did everything he could to help.

As firefighters battled the blaze from the roof of 463 Broome Street, a man on a neighboring rooftop got out his garden hose.

John Del Giorno reports over the scene in NewsCopter7.

Soho's Robert Lobe was seen by NewsCopter7 spraying from across the gap of the buildings to try to help get water on the fire.

"I'm a sculptor, my whole life is just about doing stuff, it's one more job," said Lobe. "I was pouring water between the buildings. I poured a lot of water down the chimney."

Firefighters did their best to keep it from spreading to a neighboring building.

The fire started just after 6 a.m. More than an hour later, other residents of the neighboring building joined the man with the garden hose in his firefighting efforts as he handed out buckets of water to them.

"It was a unique structure there where it was elevated on some kind of high beams. So we had difficulty in accessing where the fire was burning. After we knocked down the initial fire we had to gain access to a couple of different crawl spots so it's just very labor intensive," said Deputy Chief Kevin Murphy, FDNY. "You need a couple different units up there pulling ceilings, exposing the fire, and then putting the hose units on it. So it's arduous and with the heat what it is, it's doubly difficult."

Meantime, the owner of Rudy's Music SoHo was nervous to gain entry to his business on the ground floor.

"The most beautiful guitars, so many guitars, more than 300, 400 guitars," said Rudy Penza, business owner. "I'm waiting to see. Very expensive stuff, very rare stuff, and so I'm very concerned. People say, 'Well, insurance,' but that's not the point, the point is losing beautiful instruments, that's the problem."

Once he went inside, Penza said the back wall of his business looked like a waterfall. He said he lost hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of instruments with one of the damaged guitars worth $500,000 alone.

The fire damaged a seven-room, 2,400-square-foot rooftop penthouse that rents for $21,000 a month.

The woman who lives in the unit said that her mother was inside at the time of the fire and told her sprinklers had come on. She was not hurt.

The man who owns the unit, Eyewitness News learned he was not home at the time. He was actually in Italy, and found out about the fire and jumped on a flight back here to the city.

It was an active morning on Thursday for the FDNY as a fire burned through a Dunkin' Donuts and several other businesses in the Bronx.

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