Fire tears through Third Avenue building

A three-alarm fire tore through a Third Avenue building and damaged a dozen businesses Monday.

The fire started in the basement of a wireless store near Third Avenue and East 149th Street just after 10 a.m. Fire officials say the flames spread quickly up three stories, damaging several businesses in the commercial building.

It took about 150 firefighters from 40 engine units two hours to bring the fire under control. One firefighter suffered minor burns to his calf.

Many of the business owners are stunned by the damage. They don't know if they'll be forced to look for jobs elsewhere.

A spokesperson for the Third Avenue Business Improvement District says he plans to ask Small Business Services for money to help cover the damage. According to the spokesman, many of the affected stores do not have fire insurance.

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