A three-alarm fire occured in a historic townhouse on East 70th Street over night. The townhouse at 115 East 70th was empty, but residents in other buildings had to be evacuated. One hundred forty firefighters responded and one witness told 1010WINS, "I saw flames going all the way to the moon." The Red Cross set up emergency shelter - even using an MTA bus to keep people warm. Fire officials are investigating the fire's cause, because it does seem suspicious.
The 17,000-square-foot property was being converted into a luxurious, single-residence mansion. Neighbors said the home was recently purchased by a fashion designer, who was planning to soon move in.
The home was originally built for I.Townsend Burden, the cousin of iron and steel magnate James Burden, and features high ceilings, original moldings, hardwood floors and intricate iron work.
"It's one of the most beautiful houses in New York," said Richard Steinberg, managing director of Warburg Realty.
For restoration guidance, Dan Kingsford of Dominion said he looked back to the original floor plans, obtained for him by The New York Times' "Streetscapes" columnist and architecture expert, Christopher Gray.
Kingsford, apparently, planned to restore the staircase that was removed in the 1930's when the building was converted into separate apartments. Dominion will also gut the house, removing barriers that were erected to compartmentalize the townhouse for several different occupants.
Yeah, we can see why it was being renovated - check out these photos of when the townhouse was rentals.