A fire erupted Tuesday afternoon (October 9) at the building housing Hit Factory Recording Studios, birthplace of records by artists ranging from John Lennon to Notorious B.I.G., causing an unknown amount of damage.
No one who worked in the building was hurt in the blaze, according to police on the scene, though the section of the building that faces West 54th Street appeared severely damaged.
The fire was contained chiefly to the fourth-floor offices of SESAC, a performing-rights organization representing songwriters and publishers that leases space in the building, according to Hit Factory executive Troy Germano. The Hit Factory has studios on the same floor, and Germano said they were unaffected by the fire. The SESAC offices remained closed on Wednesday (October 10), while the Hit Factory studios were open for business.
Firefighters and police arrived at the burning building around 5:15 p.m., according to a fire department spokesperson. A neighbor said that after hearing the sirens, she looked outside her window to see the fire blow out three windows and send shards of glass showering the street below.
The cause of the fire is not known, and an investigation is under way, according to the fire department spokesperson. No one was recording at the time of the fire, Germano said, and water from the firefighters did not damage the studios or any master tapes.
The fire was extinguished by 5:48 p.m., and evacuated workers were allowed back inside to retrieve their belongings soon after.
Founded in 1975 by Ed Germano, the Hit Factory is where Biggie rhymed about sipping Cristal on “Juicy” and where Lennon made it crystal clear that “Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him.” Whitney Houston recorded the soundtrack to “The Bodyguard” at the Factory, which also pumped out soundtracks for movies like “Wayne’s World.”
Platinum and gold plaques honoring recordings by Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and Mary J. Blige adorn the lobby’s walls.
The Hit Factory has an additional New York studio, a recording facility in London, and a location in Miami, where DMX put together much of his 1999… And Then There Was X LP and Michael Jackson laid down tracks for his upcoming Invincible.