For more than three years, the city Department of Buildings knew that people were living in illegally converted residences at 91-21 90 St.
The landlord of the home lived in an illegal cellar apartment, according to city records dating back to December 2011.
The tenant on the first floor was Luis Lopez, who when asked to leave the house last Wednesday allegedly set fire to it, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
The flames spread to seven other houses on that block.
Another tenant on the second floor was forced to climb out the window to escape the fire, according to eyewitnesses.
And it seems that house was not the only one with illegal apartments.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) said one of the homes damaged in the fire was found to have bunk beds in its basement, apparently being rented to several tenants.
Records show that a complaint was made last year about 91-31 90 St. stating that there were “a lot of teneants [sic] going in and out of the house. I believe that the basment [sic] was converted into rooms and there has been past constuction [sic].”
According to Ulrich, six summonses were written for those who had illegal conversions in their homes on that block.