FDNY officials have confirmed that no one was injured in yesterday morning's spectacular taxi fire, but they have yet to determine the inferno's cause. According to the Post, a passenger was in the cab when it ignited around 9:30 a.m., while stopped at the corner of Seventh Avenue and 53rd Street. Apparently, the cabby pulled over at the light because his meter had stopped running, and both escaped the 2007 Ford Crown Victoria as it burst into flames.
This is the second fire to consume a Crown Victoria this summer; in July a cab caught fire outside The Plaza hotel. Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, says at least 20 police officers across America have died from burning Crown Victorias, which make up the bulk of taxi and police fleets nationwide. But most of the fires result from ruptured fuel tanks during rear-end collisions, and there was no crash involved in yesterday's blaze.
Whatever the cause, the fire proved costly for a street vendor stationed at the scene. Dorji Gyembo, 46, says he lost about $350 worth of paintings because "with the heat and flames, my stand melted along with some paintings. I just ran and left my things there." (See a photo of his singed wares here.) Below, yet another destructoporn video shot from a nearby office, where employees can be heard whining about the firefighters' perceived nonchalance. (Sample comment, "Jeez, like I would never want my house to be on fire.")