Tuesday, April 26, 2011
DOB was given ample warning about firetrap
From the Daily News:
The raging Bronx inferno that killed three people highlights the city's growing failure to crack down on illegal firetrap apartments.
By the time the predawn fire erupted at 2321 Prospect Ave., the Buildings Department had fielded five complaints of illegally converted apartments there since October 2009.
The last one came 11 days before the fire, when a caller complained to the department that the third floor had been converted illegally into multiple apartments.
There is no record the department did anything in response.
The track record of inaction that preceded yesterday's tragedy is frighteningly familiar.
The city gets about 20,000 complaints of illegal apartment conversions every year. The rate of city inspectors gaining access to these buildings has steadily dropped from 60% in fiscal 2006 to 45% last fiscal year.
The drop continued in the first four months of this fiscal year, falling to an all-time low of 43%, records show.
In this case, building inspectors visited the address four times after getting complaints from the Fire Department.
Each time, they couldn't get in, records show.