Friday, January 6, 2012
Shocking news: Woodside fire site was illegally converted
From the Queens Chronicle:
A November fire that led to the death of one resident and left 25 others homeless in Woodside involved a building with an illegally converted basement, according to the Department of Buildings.
The Nov. 18 fire began at 40-38 61 St. and spread to neighboring 40-34 and 40-36. The house at 40-38 was so destroyed it had to be demolished, though the Fire Department noted the cause of the fire, which began there, was faulty electrical wiring.
After the blaze, the Buildings Department visited the houses and issued neighboring 40-34 a violation for illegal alterations to the building, which included converting the cellar into an apartment that lacked a proper means of escape and adequate ventilation.
Both the cause of the fire and the evidence of illegal alterations at the neighboring building would seem to point to overcrowding in the residences, though Alexis Confer, a representative for Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), said overcrowding was not an issue in the buildings.