From Bushwick BK:
A local haven for artists, musicians, and drifters went up in flames after a resident left burning incense unattended near a canister of torch fuel. The fire occurred Saturday, April 3, at 71 Stanhope Street, a three-story flophouse known for its cheap rent and shady maintenance, but the cause was not confirmed until today by FDNY officials.
The blaze started after resident Susannah Pryce, a fire dancer, left incense burning in her room on the second floor where she kept a half-filled, one-gallon canister of Coleman’s camp fuel. She had taken her son to a nearby playground that afternoon and when she returned less than 30 minutes later, the house was in flames and residents were evacuating. Pryce’s full account of the incident is available on her blog. (The firestarter is taking donations, folks! - QC)
Former resident Adriano Moraes, a graphic novel author, said he was not surprised by the incident since the landlord, Roberto Santana, packed so many people into a house with 10 rooms and few electrical outlets.
“He had an entire Mexican family in the basement and the rest of us were living in rooms the size of shoe boxes,” Moraes said. “It’s hard to say, but I would guess between twenty and thirty people lived there.”
In the meantime, the Red Cross has found a hotel room for Pryce and her son while other residents are staying with friends. Among them, Yva Las Vegas, a former bandmate of Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, said she won’t miss the house.
“The back porch was falling apart, there were gas leaks, bad plumbing, bad electrical work, there were children in the house,” Las Vegas said. “You know, he kept it painted, but it was just a regular old slum.”