Tuesday, November 10, 2009
DA probing criminal charges in fatal fire
From the NY Post:
The city Buildings Department first received a complaint in 1990 alleging the crammed Queens home where a fire killed three residents and critically injured four others early Saturday had been illegally subdivided.
A second complaint was made in 2004 -- but both times, inspectors declared the charge unfounded.
"[The calls] came in, we inspected, and at the time, there was no evidence of an illegal conversion at that home," said Buildings spokesman Tony Sclafani. But he said the department "will conduct a thorough review of the inspection history at this site."
From ABC 7:
The Queens District Attorney has launched a full criminal investigation into a house fire in Queens that killed three people over the weekend.
As police monitored the now vacant two-story home on 65th street in Woodside, residents reacted to the news. "Many people live in the house," neighbor Veronica Castillo said. "This is a problem."
City leaders acknowledged the home had been illegally subdivided, a renovation that perhaps cost the victims their lives.
Records from the Department of Buildings show inspectors responded to complaints and visited the home in 1990 and then again in 2004. And while inspectors saw nothing wrong, the department is now reviewing those findings.
From the Daily News:
Local politicians and the dead men's relatives were outraged yesterday by the lethal conditions inside the home.
"How many more firefighters do we have to put at risk before we crack down on these illegal subdivisions?" asked City Councilman Peter Vallone (D-Astoria).
"I thought the city had learned its lesson but apparently not," said Vallone. "It's outrageous that we allow these conditions to exist in New York."
You tell us, Mr. Public Safety. Why haven't you drafted any legislation about this? Maybe you'll do so during your unnecessary third term.