Around 12:30 a.m., a fire broke out between two restaurants in East 39th Street near Third Avenue, and over 200 firefighters responded to put it out. The restaurants share a building and, according to WABC 7, "Soon, heavy flames were shooting through the roof of Byblos, a popular Lebanese restaurant that was still open." FDNY Chief Richard Tobin told WPIX, " The one building has two restaurants in it that are back-to-back. A kitchen runs through its center."

He added, "The ceiling was starting to sag, the roof was sagging. We have a big unit on the roof that has air conditioning and refridgeration units that were putting pressure on. So in safety of the members [firefighters], we had to back them out and move to an exterior attack."

At least 18 people were treated for injuries. Streets near the buildings were temporarily closed and some buildings' residents (like those above Margarita Murphy's Grill ) were also evacuated.