1969 Office Fire
In 1969, a catastrophic fire in the office of Berger & Caltabiano on 45th Street and 5th Avenue in New York City left 11 people killed. All traffic on 5th Avenue was stopped and Mayor Lindsay and several of his staff came to the site offer his condolences.
On the morning of the fire, Burton Berger was on a flight to Louisville Kentucky to meet with a General Contractor to discuss the construction of a major housing project. When he phoned the contractor that he was at the airport, the contractor told him to immediately take a return flight back to his office in NYC, as a fire devastated his office.
Berger & Caltabiano were in the process of several large building projects. Sadly, no employee from Berger & Caltabiano survived the fire. Mr. Berger contacted several architectural firms in NYC to see if they could help him complete the projects. All outstanding projects were completed with additional help.
Later In 1969, Berger formed a new firm with another architect and changed its name to Berger Caltabiano & Ascione (BC&A) with Burton W. Berger as the Senior partner. In 1974 BC&A merged with The Gruzen Partnership. This is from an article in the New York Times related to work on an elderly housing Berger was running at The Gruzen partnership. In 1984 The Gruzen Partnership changed the name of its New Jersey office to Gruzen/Berger, P.C. and Mr. Berger, then the partner-in-charge, assumed the presidency.
In 1986, the nine partners of The Gruzen Partnership split up the firm and Berger continued on as the President and sole practitioner of the firm, Gruzen/Berger, together with 30 other staff members.
In 1994, Burton W. Berger, AIA Emeritus, retired and Berger Associates was dissolved.