A fire early this morning heavily damaged a business on Catherine Street, with smoke from the blaze reaching into adjacent stores on Main Street in downtown Nyack.
No one was injured in the fire, but Orangetown police said they evacuated one man who lives in an apartment in the building affected by the fire, 13 Catherine Street.
Nyack Fire Chief James Petriello said the 2:18 a.m. blaze at the offices of Mosaic Design Group appears to have been accidental. He said an electrical-related problem is suspected as the cause of the fire.
While the fire was on Catherine Street, which is immediately north of Main Street, the firefighting effort shut down Main Street from Franklin Street to Midland Avenue to traffic until about 4:30 a.m.
When police and Nyack volunteer firefighters arrived at the fire, smoke could be seen coming from windows of the plain, yellow rectangular two-story building on a steeply-sloped section of Catherine Street. Petriello said firefighters found that about one-third of the upper level of the building — which is actually the street level — was engulfed by flames.
Petriello said firefighters were able to quickly knock down the fire. To reach the fire, firefighters accessed the building from Catherine Street and used a ladder struck on Main Street to reach the roofs on the structures in front of 13 Catherine St. Firefighters were also able to access the 13 Catherine St. building from a narrow alley that leads from Main Street to Catherine Street.
Petriello said smoke from the fire affected businesses at 168, 170 and 170A Main Street. Firefighters inspected the businesses to be sure that fire did not reach from the Catherine Street structure.
The 13 Catherine St. building also includes two apartments. One resident was home at the time of the fire, and the second apartment is rented but not yet occupied. Firefighters said the fire did not reach the apartments.
In addition to volunteers from Nyack, volunteers from the Piermont Fire Department were on Catherine Street on standby to assist Nyack firefighters. Ladies auxiliary members from the Nyack Fire Department were distributing water to firefighters as they came out of the damaged building on Catherine Street.
Orange and Rockland Utilities cut power to the fire-damaged building as a precaution this morning. Nyack's building inspector was also at the building to check the damage.