NEW YORK--The doors at Saks Fifth Avenue opened at 10 a.m. Wednesday, as usual, and remained open much of the day while crisp autumnal breezes wafted through them and helped clear the lingering smell of smoke following Tuesday's fire in the store's sub-basement. The scent of smoke was most evident on the main floor, where it overwhelmed even cosmetics and fragrances. The air on the upper floors of the nine-story department store was clear Wednesday. A two-alarm fire, as reported, was discovered in a large sub-basement Dumpster at 3:18 p.m. Tuesday. It forced hundreds of shoppers and employees to evacuate the building, and the store remained closed for the rest of the day. Aside from Wednesday's olfactory hangover, there were no other apparent signs of the fire. Store traffic appeared to be unaffected by the incident, and merchandise areas were fully stocked. Saks officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday for a damage estimate. As planned, however, Karl Lagerfeld visited Saks to promote his new fragrance, Sun Moon Stars, and also attended a luncheon there. The fire has been classified as "suspicious" by officials, and its origin is being investigated.
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