Three propane tanks were on fire where a new museum is being built, which is slated to be completed next year.The area was closed to the public, and the only people in the area were construction crews. FDNY Manhattan Borough Commander Roger Sakowich said the fire created a very dangerous situation. Officials ordered the evacuation “out of an abundance of caution.”
Evacuation of the area
Visitors to the island were evacuated from the State of Liberty monument itself and moved to a plaza area determined to be a safe while firefighters contained the blaze. The fire prompted the National Parks Service to evacuate all 3,400 people from Liberty Island. Boats moved people from Liberty Island to the nearby Ellis Island. The Statue of Liberty reopened mid-afternoon and operations to and from Liberty Island resumed. One worker suffered a non-life-threatening injury from the incident. There was no damage to monument. The cause of the fire is investigated. In 1984, the Statue of Liberty was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A New York City Fire Department inspection earlier found problems at the statue that include a lone fire hydrant and inadequate water pressure. And a 2-year-old Park Service study warns that a smoky fire could set off panic in a crowded stairwell and make it difficult to evacuate.