A fire swept through Union Hall (702 Union Street near 5th Avenue) in Park Slope late Friday night, prompting a full evacuation of the venue. A live music show was just finishing at the time, however the audience was still in the space.
The entire audience, staff, and performers were safely evacuated.
According to a spokesperson, the FDNY received a call about the incident at approximately 11:50pm on Friday, March 24 and arrived on the scene at 11:53pm.
Firefighters immediately searched the venue and confirmed no one was left inside. The fire was contained in a period of 24 minutes and was put out by 12:36am, a spokesperson said. 12 units and 60 firefighters were on hand to extinguish the fire, which was located in the “cockloft” – the space between the roof and “flat beams.”
The incident took place soon after the band Savak finished playing.
“The band had just finished and everyone was having their last beer,” said Park Slope neighbor Geoff Sanoff, who was attending the show. “The staff did a great job; they told us we needed to leave immediately and directed us to an exit.”
The performance space, which is located in the basement, has an exit that leads out the side of the building.
Sanoff estimates that about 30-40 people were downstairs at the time. The bar was busy upstairs on the main floor.
“I’m thankful that the very professional staff there did a great job of making everyone leave, all the more so given this could easily be everyone’s last night working there,” said Sanoff.
The extent of the interior damage is not yet clear, however, the Union Street space was filled with a significant amount of smoke during the time of the incident. Photos show the smoke flowing out of the venue’s front door while evacuated concertgoers stand outside.
An FDNY spokesperson said that firefighters left Union Hall at approximately 1:52am.
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.
This morning, the windows were boarded up with wood and a construction worker was bringing materials up the façade via ladder.
On Saturday, March 25, the following message was posted on the Union Hall website:
“There was a fire at Union Hall Friday, March 24. No one was injured and it was quickly contained but there was damage, which is currently being assessed. In the short term we will be closed. We hope to reopen as quickly as possible. We appreciate all the support from the community and will keep you updated.”
“While information is not yet available about when the venue will be open again, the exterior of the building appears to be in good shape.”
Union Hall is a 5,ooo-square-foot venue with two bocce courts, a bar, restaurant, and performance space that hosts a busy schedule of live music, comedy, and other performances almost every evening. The business has been open since July 2006.
This article was updated at 8:16pm on Saturday, March 25.