UPDATE: Body found in rubble of Bed-Stuy building collapse

Firefighters work to put out a fire at 394 Gates Ave. in Bedford-Stuyvesant Monday morning.
Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

More than 130 firefighters spent Monday morning battling a three-alarm blaze in Bedford-Stuyvesant, which resulted in the collapse of a vacant building near the corner of Gates and Nostrand avenues.

FDNY personnel rushed to the scene at 394 Gates Ave. just before 6 am on Feb. 7, where they found heavy flames and plumes of smoke billowing from the four-story building, which had been under construction and vacant for some time. 

Shortly after smoke eaters made their entry, part of the building caved in, according to a Fire Department spokesperson. 

While no civilians were initially reported injured, EMS workers rushed one firefighter to Wyckoff Medical Center with injuries. That firefighter’s condition was unknown as of publication.

On Tuesday, fire officials confirmed that a body was, in fact, pulled from the rubble as cleanup operations continued.

Smoke encompasses Gates Avenue.Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

The individual’s cause of death remains under investigation by the city Medical Examiner’s Office.

Those fighting the fire operated three tower ladders and two hose lines from the outside of the wrecked building, citing safety concerns. Sources on the scene told Brooklyn Paper the response would be “an extended operation.”

After more than four grueling hours, the FDNY finally placed the blaze under control at around 10:30 am. A total of 33 units and 138 firefighters responded to the enferno.

Property records say the building, which contains three apartments and is next door to a bodega, first went up in 1931. Owners were hit with a Stop Work Order from the city’s Department of Buildings in June 2021, according to an agency rep, after the site’s general contractor submitted a request to withdraw from the project.

Firefighters battled the blaze for hours.Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

Inspectors who visited the building last month found that the site was closed and in compliance with the agency’s orders.

The cause of Monday’s fire remains under investigation, according to the FDNY.

Additional reporting by Meaghan McGoldrick