NEW YORK - Hundreds of holiday shoppers were evacuated from the flagship Macy's store at Herald Square yesterday after a fire in an escalator spread smoke through the building. No injuries were immediately reported.

The fire occurred between the third and fourth floors, said Elina Kazan, a Macy's spokeswoman.

The sirens of numerous police and fire trucks on 34th Street blared long after the fire was reported at 4 p.m. on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

The smoke was so heavy at one point that passers-by on the street could smell it.

Outside the building, a police officer announced to prospective customers after 5 p.m. that Macy's had closed.

It reopened within an hour and would remain open until midnight, Kazan said.

When it is to reopen at 7 a.m. today, it will remain open 24 hours a day until 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve, she added.

The fire occurred as retail stores in Manhattan were attempting to recover from a foot of snow that fell on the city only hours before.

"Hopefully some of those people who couldn't make it in because of the snowstorm will make it in when we're pulling all-nighters," Kazan said.

Kazan said the fire did not occur within the store's wooden-stair escalators but instead occurred in one of the newer, metal models.