By Shirley Ng
A fire damage one of the few Asian American bookstores in the country, Yu & Me Bookstore in New York City.
According to a report from the Fire Department of New York obtained by AsAmNews, a call came in about a fire on the second floor of 42 Mulberry Street at approximately 2pm on the Fourth of July. The fire was under control in less than an hour.
The report also said a tenant was in critical condition and is being treated at the New York-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital. One firefighter suffered minor injuries.
A local resident, Joe Chan who lives a block from the fire said he would see that tenant, “Frank,” a man approximately in his 70s when they would both walk their dogs in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, Frank’s bulldog died on the scene.
Chan shared video of the firefighters trying to put out the fire on Facebook live.
The fire had spread to 44 Mulberry Street, where the Yu and Me Bookstore is located on the ground level. Lucy Yu, the owner of the bookstore posted on Instagram on Wednesday afternoon that the store suffered “significant” damage from the fire and hopes to reopen soon.
Members of the community like Rozina Leong were at Yu and Me Bookstore after the fire to help salvage as many books as they can by bagging them into plastic bags. The bookstore had a busy summer schedule of events, which mostly will be cancelled.
It has only been less than three weeks since Chinatown’s most deadly fire at 80 Madison Street caused by a lithium battery from an e-bike store on the ground level. That fire quickly spread upwards to the residential building and claimed four lives and displaced many tenants.
City officials have since vowed to conduct more outreach and inspections on lithium battery safety and will be receiving $25 million dollars in funding from the federal government to build outdoor e-bike charging stations throughout the city to mitigate charging the e-bikes inside homes.
Over 60 firefighters reported to the fire on Mulberry Street fire, which is still under investigation.