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Two alarm blaze threatens landmark Loew’s - Two-alarm fire rips through empty storefronts coming close to old theater

A two-alarm blaze that gutted three vacant storefronts came dangerously close to destroying a Flatbush Avenue landmark, firefighters and area residents said last week. Flames may have licked the sides of the Loew’s Kings, 1027 Flatbush Avenue, but the fire that erupted on the morning of February 15 never entered the historic building heading for a rebirth in the next year, fire officials said. Officials said that empty storefronts between 1041 and 1033 Flatbush Avenue caught fire at around 5 a.m. The fire, which has so far been deemed accidental, started on the upper floors and spread throughout. Officials said that one firefighter suffered neck and back injuries as he doused the blaze. No other injuries were reported. Fearing that the heavy winds would spread the flames to adjoining properties, firefighters forced their way into the abandoned Loew’s Kings, as well as an Astoria Savings Bank on the other side of the burning storefronts. Both locations were secured after firefighters were satisfied that the fire had not spread to either property. The blaze, however, had already taken its toll. The storefronts were completely destroyed. It was unclear if one of the properties was going to be part of Loew’s Kings rebirth that Borough President Marty Markowitz promised to turn into a new performance venue during his state of the borough address last month. The Loew’s Kings first opened its doors in 1929 and was considered one of the biggest, as well as most lavish theaters every produced by Loew’s. The austere theater was never divided, keeping its amazing interior architecture unscathed, but poor attendance finally led to its closure in the 1970s. The exact cause of the fire was still being investigated as this paper went to press.

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