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.


Anonymous said...

Maybe some DOB "inspectors" need to be burned at the stake!

That department is still crooked as a country road!

DOB...Dep't. of Bribes!

Anonymous said...

I've reported illegal basement apartments in Middle Village to the DOB and Council member Crowley's office for about two years and they have done nothing.

This is Queens. The city doesn't care and neither do the local pols.

Anonymous said...

I remember reading that the fire was started by an oxygen cylinder.

Anonymous said...

Funny how Jimmy seems to be all over the new development but something like this that is widespread in his district and ... what has he done ... no interest?


Anonymous said...

That house was for sale and I walked through it with a realtor. The house was definately overcrowded. They were renting individual rooms out. I don't remember the cellar, but I remember walking into the attic and thinking, wow, if there was ever a fire here, they would be screwed.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it funny - a car packed an extra 30 seconds gets a ticket, anything that involved an absentee landlord making money off a community and the unfortunate tenant gets a free reign and is ignored.

Is anyone ready to make this an issue with the politicians?

Of course not.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps a lesson to all those who live near home owners who have illegally converted attics/basements and don't report them. You could lose your home!