Citigroup (NYSE:C) officials were granted access Wednesday to the Manhattan site of a 30-hour, six-alarm fire that destroyed a two-story branch over the weekend.
A Citi spokesman said that the branch's safe deposit boxes appeared to be in good shape and that bank officials were optimistic about the condition of the boxes' contents.
Citi hopes to contact affected customers early next week about how to retrieve their items. In the meantime, the boxes will be brought to an undisclosed central location where they will remain locked and secured.
"We understand how anxious customers with deposit boxes have been, and we are grateful to them for their tremendous patience these last several days as the authorities worked on the site," the spokesman said.
The fire occurred from 5:20 Saturday morning until 11:55 a.m. on Sunday just south of the Columbia University campus in the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan. A spokesman said Monday that no Citibank employees were injured in the fire. The fire injured five firefighters and three civilians.
Mark D. Levine, a city councilman whose Upper Manhattan district includes Morningside Heights, said on Twitter Monday that the New York City Fire Marshal had opened an investigation into the cause of the fire, though there is no suspicion of foul play as of yet.
The fire began in the basement of the bank, where the vault storing the safe deposit boxes is located. A Citi spokesman confirmed Wednesday that the bank is not liable for the contents of the boxes, and that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which insures bank account deposits up to $250,000, does not cover the contents of the deposit boxes.
The Safety Deposit Box Insurance Company is the only company in the U.S. that insures safe deposit boxes without knowledge of the details as to what's inside. The company, founded in 2010, has partnerships with more than 45 banks, ranging from smaller community banks to companies with up to $8 billion of assets.
SDBIC President and co-founder Jerry Pluard is looking to establish partnerships with large banks and said Wednesday that he has held discussions with several of them.