07/18/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Former Firefighter Brian Williams Rushes To Scene Of Midtown New York Fire

The timing was perfect. I was looking for an excuse to at least duck out of the building for ten minutes on a beautiful summer day, when I heard the call come in over the fire scanner: a basement fire at TGI Friday's at 50th and 7th, a block away from our building. So I went.

I arrived before much of the apparatus -- and because of the nature of the alarm, the FDNY rolled a lot of it: Engine 23, the Engine/Ladder combination 54 & 4 ("The Pride of Midtown"), the Battalion 9 Chief, and 21 Ladder from the nearby Hell's Kitchen neighborhood.

It turned out to be a stubborn, smoldering fire beneath the sidewalk grate outside the adjacent Tad's Steaks -- more of a social get-together for members of the various firehouses. Engine 54 connected to the nearest hydrant when they rolled up on the scene, and they ended up charging a booster line (sending water from the truck to the hose) and hitting the fire with water for a few minutes to douse it.

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