May 23, 2019 By Christian Murray
The 5-alarm fire that destroyed six stores on Queens Boulevard in December was caused by faulty electrics at Romantic Depot, according to the official FDNY incident report obtained by the Sunnyside Post.
The report, completed on April 18, noted that the Dec. 13 fire erupted inside Romantic Depot, located at 45-02 Queens Blvd., shortly after 2 a.m. near the side door entrance on 45th Street. The fire began in the cockloft–or ceiling area–and then tore through the ceiling, walls, floor and contents, according to the report.
The report notes that the fire then swept through New York Style Eats, Zen Yai, the UPS Store, Side Tracks and Better Line Hardware. Initially, the FDNY thought the fire began at New York Style Eats.
Romantic Depot was the newest store on the block, having opened at the end of October. It offered racy lingerie and adult toys.
The FDNY has not responded to requests for the report.
The property, which contained all six tenants, is owned by Rasell Realty Corp., a family-run firm that was established in 1946 and acquired the parcel more than 50 years ago.
Christopher Petsanas, a co-owner of Rasell, said that the company plans to start clearing the debris left on the site in about two weeks and aims to have everything removed by the end of July. He said that the company has had to wait for the Department of Buildings, the insurance company and FDNY to sign off before being able to proceed. His firm got clearance about a week ago.
“I love the neighborhood and it’s depressing the way it looks now,” Petsanas said, who added that his wife’s grandfather bought the property and it has been in the family since.
He said that the extended family have yet to decide what the long-term plans are for the property. “Our main focus is cleaning up the site,” he said.
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