A freak electrical fire appears to be the cause of a small, but intense fire that left a swanky Upper East Side caviar shop and ‘caviar speakeasy’ lead by a ‘Top Chef’ winner that was destroyed by flames, smoke and water, Upper East Site has learned.
Upper East Site spotted Bravo’s Top Chef Season 19 winner Buddha Lo sitting outside the Marky’s Caviar retail store located at 1067 Madison Avenue, where explained how he had left the shop around 6:20 pm Tuesday night and had come back some 40 minutes later to find firefighters swarming the block and scouring the the large co-op above Marky’s for the source of the smoke.
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“The building next door already called the fire department and they were checking the alarm and building [above Marky’s Caviar],” explained Chef Lo, “and then I was like, ‘I’m gonna go check out the store.’”
“The store was black,” Lo said, that’s when he let firefighters know where the fire was coming from and let them inside.
By 7:30 pm, Lo says the fire had been burning uncontrolled inside the retail space at Marky’s Caviar for at least a half hour — not inside HŪSO, the 12-seat ‘caviar speakeasy’ located in the rear that’s known for its opulent dishes highlighting caviar at every course and reportedly has a wait list 3,000 names long, as first thought.
A layer of soot now covers the front windows, but it was easy to recognize the signs of the extensive smoke and water damage inside.
Upper East Site was allowed inside Marky’s to view the destruction and where the flames apparently sparked Tuesday night — an electrical outlet within the display counter at the front of the retail shop — just steps from the front door — that was only used to power the store’s cordless phone.
“It looks pretty bad for 30 minutes of fire,” Chef Lo said, showing us the charred paneling that had been stripped off by firefighters with a large hole eaten through by the flames, as well as the exposed socket, disfigured by fire, still within its metal housing.
“[The retail area] was engulfed in smoke, so I’m feeling like that like exploded — and we usually stand around that area around that time,” Lo explained, understandably shaken up by the possibilities had the restaurant been open at that time.
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No one was injured in the fire, officials say. That’s likely because Marky’s Caviar closes at 6:00 pm on Tuesdays, so no one was inside the restaurant when the fire began.
A dozen FDNY units comprised of 60 firefighters worked for roughly 45 minutes to hose down the flames, even ripping open the ceiling to make sure no pockets of fire were trapped in the confined space and giving the all clear just before 8:15 pm.
“What’s scary is that it’s this can happen from a phone outlet,” Chef Lo added, “There’s nothing we could have done. Nothing.”
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