Those who toil in Biglaw need to spend more time out of the office. But these are not the ideal circumstances.
A fire and power shutdown have forced at least three leading law firms out of their offices….
Note the UPDATE after the jump, regarding a fire at another top firm. What is going on this week in New York City?
A source just informed us: “NY offices of Debevoise and Schulte Roth are currently closed due to power failure at 919 Third Ave. SL Green owns the building.” A second source added that Jenner & Block is also in the building.
Here are additional details, from PIX 11:
Thousands of people headed to work Tuesday, were turned away at the entrance to their East side high-rise office building. An electrical fire resulted in a power shutdown inside leaving them standing on East 55th street for hours.
Sources tell PIX11 a fire in electrical equipment in a sub-basement at 919 Third Avenue resulted in con-ed cutting the power to the building.
Firefighters reported heavy smoke when they arrived and high levels of carbon monoxide. It was initially believed that a transformer exploded. But sources tell PIX11 that 5 transformers feed pieces of electrical equipment in the building and that one of those pieces of equipment caught fire.
Firefighters vented the building to get high levels of carbon monoxide out.
Given the presence of carbon monoxide, let’s hope that the building is thoroughly tested before anyone is allowed back in. Biglaw can be a poisonous atmosphere as it is.
It appears that 919 Third Avenue has a history when it comes to fire. According to the building’s Wikipedia entry, a fire back in 1970 killed three people and injured 20.
Thankfully, we have heard no reports of deaths or injuries as a result of the current fire. So it’s okay to quote the reaction to the news of my colleague Elie, who used to work in the building during his Debevoise days: “Do you know how many times I prayed for that building to burn to the ground?” Or the comments that a Debvoise partner made to Elie, while taking in the amazing views out of the office windows: “The best thing about being in the ugliest building on the block is that you don’t have to look at it yourself.”
We will update this story if and when we hear more. Feel free to email us or text us (646-820-8477) with any news.
Stay safe, everyone.
UPDATE (12:25 p.m.): Yesterday a fire broke out in the sub-basement of Quinn Emanuel’s office building as well. Elevators were out of service for a time. But everything is back to normal today (and in fact was back to normal by yesterday afternoon).