Massive Fire Swallows Empty Building in Chelsea

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Around 3 a.m. this morning, New Yorkers who live next to 221 West 17th Street, near Seventh Avenue, were evacuated into the cold streets after a five-alarm fire engulfed a residential building under construction in Chelsea. 

Authorities are unsure of what caused the fire, which began on the fourth floor — and then tore through the fifth and sixth floors, and the roof — to start. The smell of smoke lingered and drifted to nearby neighborhoods as firefighters got control of the flames around 7 a.m. 

Big Fire on 17th between 7th and 8th ave . #fdny #nypd on the scene in full force. I hope everyone's okay. #NYC

A photo posted by Dan Ryan (@thedailydanryan) on

A FDNY official told NBC New York, "The building is in major danger of collapse, so we are keeping everybody away from the building. We have a few other buildings that are evacuated because of the potential collapse, and this is going to be an extended operation." According to the New York Times, the Fire Department sent 198 people to work the blaze.

The building, now somewhat ruined, was supposed to be a luxury condo development with 14 units — some fetching as much as $10 million — called the Dorian. It was scheduled to be completed by the end of next year.