Friday, January 13, 2012
Illegally converted house goes up in flames on SI
From SI Live:
The Department of Buildings is expected to join the investigation of a two-alarm fire that ripped through an apartment building in Port Richmond this morning, according to Fire Department radio reports.
Multiple FDNY units responded to the fire at 209 Park Ave. which was reported at 7:19 a.m.
Firefighters just completed going through the entire building in search for victims at 9:25 a.m. Heavy fire and numerous subdivisions prevented them from completing that task earlier.
Six people were being treated for minor injuries, including smoke inhalation, according to an FDNY spokesman.
Red Cross is at the scene of the fire to meet with displaced residents.
And here's more:
In June, 2011, the Buildings Department ordered a tenant in the basement to leave because the property was not illegal, but in August, the tenant was back. In June of 2008, the attic was similarly ordered vacated by the department.
"This is so sad. There were so many people living there in such awful conditions; it’s the same story," said Maria Munoz, the principal of PS 20, which located just down the block.
Three of the children living in the home are students at the school. Ms. Munoz said their mother told her, the hot water and heat had not worked there for nearly a month, and had just been restored Thursday. She was paying $1,500 a month in rent, Ms. Munoz said.
Two other families with children at the school had been living in the basement of the home, before being ordered out a few months ago by the Buildings Department, said Ms. Munoz.
"The owners must have been collecting thousands of dollars a month, and look at how they’re living," she said, explaining how families are often scared to complain, so they quietly endure atrocious living conditions while paying steep rents.
This is the third major fire in the neighborhood since November. A fire on Sharpe Avenue Nov. 14, left a family with 10 children without a place to go. As many as 50 people were left homeless after a Nov. 25 blaze destroyed an illegally subdivided two-family home on Harrison Avenue.