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5-Alarm Fire on Queens Boulevard Started At Romantic Depot: Report

The aftermath of a massive fire that destroyed six businesses on Queens Boulevard between 45th and 46th Streets on Dec. 13 (Photo: Nathaly Pesantez)

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.

Fire Incident Report – 45-0… by on Scribd

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51 Comments

Anonymous

Love all the input, from people who have absolutely no fire experience. What a joke.

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Anonymous

I think Jehovah witness people had a lot to do with it . 🤔 they didn’t want that store by them definitely without a doubt people should look into it . I remember seeing them outside for days I loved my style eats and sidetracks n my friends at the ups I remember them when they had flagship ;(

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Pa Ingalls

Just asking: are there many Jehovah’s witnesses around here? You go to Manhattan you trip over them but I have only seen a couple here.and they don’t stay long.

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43rd & 43rd

Yes, the huge assembly hall is right there on Greenpoint. After or between services, they spill out everywhere for coffee, lunch, etc. Hundreds of people

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buy american

i blame the cheap chinese batteries in the vibrators, my friend had the same problem like 2 years ago! Her dresser went up in flames. always use american batteries!

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49th Street -- be careful!

Off topic but wanted to report to parents out there — there is a woman on the west side of 49th St. between 39th Avenue and Skillman who has been observed behaving very aggressively toward young children. She is Irish, 40s-50s in age, mid-length blondish hair.

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Jerry the Truth

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERGQs3cUHe8
This is untrue and an error. See fire video above on you tube. Look at the fire here. It did not start at the entrance on 45th at the Romantic Depot side entrance by the hardware store which is 100 feet up 45th street. As you can see there are no FDNY ladders even close to the 45th street side of the building.
Furthermore, all Forensic fire experts and all insurance carriers agreed there is no way to pinpoint how this terrible fire originated or where the fire originated or how the fire started. But the video shows it started somewhere in the center on the Queens boulevard frontage area.
The truth

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A guy from queens

If you aren’t a firefighter then you have no right to say where the fire started. You have no clue how fire actually works and are coming to conclusions based off a YouTube video when the fire had been going already for close to 30 minutes.

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I guess I'm Bill

It’s ignorant to name call when you have no clue. If a report came out from actual fire Marshalls saying the fire started here. Do you realize how ignorant it sounds to say no I think it started there. You’re a moron. If you have no clue how fire travels just read the report and keep it moving. Pointing fingers at businesses when it’s been proven it’s not their fault lol.

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Jennie

Disgusting they destroyed my two favorite eat places. Clean up rats running around. Rebuild side tracks and New York eats

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Bernie

Disgusting never should have being allowed. Hope their insurance pays. Lost my best two places New York eats which they tried to blame and sidetracks.

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Cockloft LLC

I am here to announce my intention of purchasing this property and opening a bar called The Cockloft on this site.

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Not a prude

To those saying it’s insurance fraud, the store is reopening so there goes that theory. This was a deliberate and malicious attack on them to get them off that block and then throw them under the bus. This neighborhood is pathetic!

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Pa Ingalls

Ummm, that would prove our theory, no? Now they have money for a better, newer store building. They’ll probably do it again.

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Gardens Watcher

Yes, clean up the lot ASAP. And while we wait for the next high rise to be approved 🙁 , maybe the owners would allow a weekly farmer’s market or a community garden this summer? Or a Sunnyside Flea, or a free swap and shop?

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Rent Riser

There is already a farmers market in Sunnyside. And do you have any clue how much work it takes to create a community garden? Who would do that only to have it demolished?! Come on, you can think of better ways to gentrify the neighborhood, how about some dumpster pools, or a food truck lot with a skating rink in the middle.

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Gardens Watcher

Many times these lots remain vacant for years. It’s up to the owner, but it’s likely to be fenced off once the debris is cleared.

I do garden, and bet Home Depot would sponsor a short-term project if asked. This is not a big ask. AOC could tell you how much work it takes to create a garden…she did it for herself. Why not for the community?

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FriendlyNeighborhoodSunnysider

“Come to the Romantic Depot and see the sparks fly!”

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I'm not a robot

Now that investigation is completed and sex shop was the culprit, can they please clean up this eyesore and start building something already. How much longer do we have to stare at this atrocity?

“faulty” wiring. Did this place not pass inspection before it opened? What faulty wiring?

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Anonymous

The investigation is not complete. The FDNY and the NYPD will not disclose any further information to the public especially if there was any foul play involved. I certainly would like to know the name of the electrician/company who installed the reported faulty wires!

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Oh lily

A store that was there a short time destroys long established ones
Someone needs to be sued

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InvestigatePelicanaTruther

In the short time that Romantic Depot was open, I’ve never once seen people go inside. There’d always be people guarding the “VIP” entrance of the store. What would compel a business owner to open a lingerie store in 2018 in a place like Sunnyside no less?

I hope the bureau investigates this obvious money laundering scheme and insurance fraud. The geriatric Sunnyside mafia needs to be held accountable for their questionable lingerie taste.

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bxgrl

You could have made the same point without throwing ageism into it for nothing.

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Troof

There’s actually a noticeable old man mafia around Sunnyside, so I think it’s warranted

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the ageism made it funnier

You could have made the same point without shaming InvestigatePelicanaTruther for ageism-shaming.

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Anonymous

how about all the 99 cent stores and the money laundering did you forget about that – and all the building that is going on with all the illegal money –

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Optics

I went in. It was weird. They gave you the hard sell (no pun intended). If you agreed to post something nice about the store on social media (and show it on your phone to the cashier), they’d give you a discount. I politely declined.

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Bee Siddes

I don’t know why I find this extra disturbing. Perhaps because I never “got” this store and didn’t see it’s place in the neighborhood.

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Not a prude

Out of curiosity, in what neighborhood did you “see” this place? Note: there are at least 12 handy/blowy massage joints in the vicinity and nary a peep from anyone.

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Bee Siddes

To Not a Prude: How is it that you know there are “at least a dozen handy/blowy massage joints in the neighborhood?” There may be “nary a peep” about them because most people aren’t aware of them and they are discreet. A dozen you say? Who knew Sunnyside was such a den of sin. I would think the Mommies of Sunnyside would be up in arms if that were the case–they are not a group to be messed with!

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Surprised Consumer

How could they NOT know that all those vibrators recharging in one outlet was a hazard?!

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Anonymous

I knew that place was too hot for sunnyside. There was bound to be a fire in the cockloft.

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rikki

So radio shack with everything on never caused a fire but a sex shop does?

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Mary L

That sex store was totally suspicious, how many toys did they need to sell just to make the rent, let alone other expenses? I hope they clean up the site quickly it makes the neighborhood look bad as well as all the other vacant shops especially on that strip of Queens Blvd down to Amazon pharmacy.

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SuperWittySmitty

They had some great deals on lingerie. Now I’m back to shopping at ABC and the quality is not as good.

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Pressure reliever

The cockloft!!
I knew it. Any time your cockloft gets too overheated it usually gets very hot and lets off some “steam” . Its usually volcanic and quick, doesnt usually knock up a whole block though. Oh boy, whew!

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