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FDNY museum closed over structural integrity concerns

The museum posted on its website that nearby construction crane activity led to concerns about building stability


The NYC Fire Museum on Spring Street in SoHo.

Jeff Bachner/New York Daily News

By Téa Kvetenadze
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — The FDNY’s official museum is closed until further notice after staff at the historic building reported shaking over the weekend.

The New York City Fire Museum at 278 Spring St. in Hudson Square was evacuated about 9:45 a.m. on Saturday when employees who were preparing to open for the day heard loud banging and felt the building vibrate, according to Executive Director Patti Murphy .

“It’s closed off until we can get a structural engineer to ensure the safety of anybody entering the building,” Murphy told the Daily News . She said that the collection of 10,000-odd artifacts did not appear to be damaged.

“The safety of our visitors and staff is our utmost priority, and this closure is a precautionary measure while we await clearance,” read a notice on the museum’s website.

A 311 complaint to the city Buildings Department suggested a nearby construction crane may have been a factor, but a spokesman said the agency did not find issues related to the building shaking or any evidence that crane activity had caused any structural damage.

The department has issued an order for the museum to have a professional engineer inspect the facade.

“The New York City Fire Museum plays an important role in honoring the department’s history, and the FDNY is in touch with museum leadership and we are working closely with our agency partners to ensure its safety,” said FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh .

“The department will work with the museum and our partners in the public and private sector to make sure the collection remains open to the public for years to come.”

The Fire Museum has been at the Spring St. location since 1987 and dates to 1870. The 1904 Beaux Arts building was once the firehouse of Engine Co. 30 and is home to a permanent 9/11 exhibit memorializing the 343 members of the FDNY who died in the terror attacks.

Murphy said it’s unclear how long the museum will have to stay closed, but that the closure would likely have a “significant impact” financially on the independent, self-funded nonprofit, which relies heavily on admissions, gift shop sales and events (the museum was about to host a children’s birthday party when the incident happened).

“Closing down right now is going to have an impact on our operations of course,” she said.

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