From CBS 2:
As neighbors mourned the victims, at least some of whom were said to be members of the local Bangladeshi community, others in the diverse community complained that too many homes there have been illegally subdivided, causing dangerous conditions.
"Everybody changes from two-family to four, five, six families – it's not right," one neighbor said. "I pay my tax for two families – why should I pay the same as they pay?"
Just next door, inspectors found more illegal apartments, and another building was ordered shut, leaving several people homeless.
"I was told I had to vacate," one resident, Jeffrey, said.
He said he lived in a single-room occupancy in the basement for several years.
"I assumed everything was legitimate," Jeffrey said. "When I was on Welfare, inspectors came and inspected it. They were paying the rent."
Here's the address where the fire was. Note that there was a complaint in 2004 for illegal conversion of basement, but the DOB supposedly found nothing. The house next door has had illegal apartments since 1998 but no enforcement was done.