New York fire: Midtown high-rise block in FLAMES - smoke above Manhattan

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New York fire: Midtown high-rise block in FLAMES - smoke above Manhattan

The blaze is located just a few blocks away from Grand Central Terminal. Local media reported Christmas ornamanents caught on fire sparking the major incident. The flames grew to engulf lower floors of a building on Madison Avenue, one of the city's busiest roads.

Hundreds of employees and customers were evacuated from the building as emergency services issued an "all hands response" meaning all despatched units were redirected to tackle the fire.

Dozens of fire crews, police and ambulance rushed to the scene but reported no casualties.

NBC New York reported the source was thought to be near Christmas ornaments in the building's lobby which caught fire before it spread to the second floor.

The news outlet added 75 firefighters were at the scene from 12 units.

The incident happened at 3.26pm UK time, mid-morning local time.

The fire is the second to happen in the city today.

Earlier this morning fire crews were called to Times Square after smoke was seen billowing out from a nearby restaurant.

A worker at the restaurant said he was in the basement with a colleague attending a small fire when "it just blew up", according to NBC New York.

Fire Department New York confirmed a transformer explosion was the cause of the incident.

This is a breaking news story, more to follow.

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