From the NY Post:
The Chinatown building blasted apart by pesticide bombs had been illegally subdivided and was using illegal gas and plumbing lines, city building officials said.
The slipshod structure at 17 Pike Street — which went up in a fiery explosion just before 1 p.m. yesterday, injuring at least nine people — has been ordered emptied of all tenants.
“A full vacate order was issued for the property due to the presence of illegal conversions in the building,” said Dept. of Buildings spokeswoman Kelly Magee.
DOB inspectors found illegal partitions that compromised exits on the second through fifth floors of the five-story prewar building, according to a newly-filed complaint, which also cited the exploding bug bombs as causing the partial collapse of the structure.
The investigation also revealed “illegal plumbing work and gas lines” in the “shaking/vibrating” building, which houses a beauty parlor and bus company on the ground floor, and is listed as an “18 family dwelling” in city records.
It is unclear how many people were living in the building, or how many subdivided apartments there were. But the Red Cross yesterday had 61 people from 17 Pike – 46 adults and 15 children – register for emergency assistance.