YONKERS, N.Y. – Macy’s reopened Sunday after a malfunctioning escalator motor ignited a blaze the night before, prompting an evacuation of the Cross County Shopping Center department store.
Fire Chief William Farrell said Sunday firefighters received a call from the store at 5:28 p.m. reporting a fire in an escalator that serviced the first and second floors.
An electrical motor had overheated and ignited debris in the pit of the escalator, sparking the blaze, Farrell said. By the time firefighters arrived, customers already were being evacuated. Firefighters and employees said smoke was pouring from the escalator pit into the second and third floors.
“It was very smoky in there,” one female employee said Sunday. “There was a lot of commotion.”
Many shoppers took to Twitter to share the news of the blaze.
“Currently in Macys and the escalators are on fire,” one person tweeted, with the hashtag “employeesfreakingout.”
Forty-one firefighters were on scene and the fire was under control shortly after 6 p.m, Farrell said. City inspectors also were on scene to take a look at the escalators. No injuries were reported.
On Sunday, the escalators were blocked off and customers were being directed to the store's elevators.
Saturday marked the second time in recent months shoppers have been evacuated from Macy's due to an emergency.
On Oct. 3, a carbon monoxide leak was reported after a gas generator that was being used for construction of a nearby Panera Bread restaurant sent the toxic gas into Macy's and Applebee's restaurant.
Still, many shoppers said Sunday they weren’t unnerved by the recent events.
“It sounds like it was just a couple of freak accidents,” said Mount Vernon resident Jelani Mitchell. “I don’t think there is much they can do about that.”