Historic Red Hook warehouse goes up in flames

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About 106 firefighters and two boats responded to a vacant warehouse fire Thursday night in Red Hook.

The flames broke out around 11:15 p.m. at the building on Smith Street and Creamer Avenue.

No injuries were reported. The building remains standing despite heavy roof damage.

An office manager for developer Meyer Chetrit told News 12 that they were not allowed to comment.

Community members say the three-story building included another section that's already been torn down. It was built in the late 1880s and used to be known as the S.W. Bowne Grain Storehouse, according to local historical experts.

The fire happened as historical groups were working to landmark the building.

The New York City Department of Buildings has issued a full vacate order for the property. There are also civil penalties due for violations on the site.

On Wednesday, the Gowanus Landmarking Coalition met with City Councilman Carlos Menchaca to ask that the proposal to landmark the building be reopened. It was brought up last year and also in 2009, but no major action was taken.

"The timing of the fire immediately on the heels of the meeting and the subsequent outreach to the owner paints the blaze in an incredibly suspicious light," the group said in a statement. "This is a true, sad loss for the community. It's time for an investigation."

The group plans to continue pursuing the landmark status even after the fire.

The FDNY is still determining the cause. Some nearby businesses say they were asked for any surveillance video to see whether the fire was intentionally set.

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