Investigators are still not sure what caused the small fire that broke out in the Macys sub-basement on the 34th Street side. It was already contained when firefighters arrived thanks to the building's sprinkler system.
For workers and customers inside, it was more confusing than scary.
"People were trying to figure what was going on. There was no real urgency at that point," said Michelle Hermsen, a shopper.
At first people on the basement and first floor levels were told to evacuate the building and head to the exit doors on Broadway.
But eventually, everyone was ordered out.
Michelle Hermsen recorded some of the evacuation on her cellphone.
"It was a little bit scary," Hermsen said.
It wasn't until everyone was outside that they realized there was a fire in the building.
By then, the smoke was more visible looking through the windows and the smoke smell was strong.
"Then we started seeing firefighters and we said, 'Oh, something really happened down there,'" said Claudia Schmitt, a shopper.
Despite the store being crowded on a Friday night, Guy Frazier who works on the third floor says workers knew what to do, where to go, and customers kept their cool.
"Nice and orderly. I helped a woman names Florence who was 83 years old," said Guy Frazier, a Macy's employee.
The well-known department store has over 1 million square feet of retail space.