Earlier this week, a fire broke out in the early evening hours at an apartment building in Brooklyn's East Flatbush neighborhood. According to eyewitness reports, several building residents were seen outside the burning building as firefighters rescued trapped tenants and attempted to put out the blaze.
Two individuals who were in the burning building suffered smoke inhalation and were transported to a nearby hospital for medical care and observation. Thankfully, no one died in this recent apartment fire. The property's profile on the New York City Department of Buildings' website, however, details a history of unsafe and hazardous conditions both inside and outside the premises.
Included among tenant-filed complaints are allegations that as many as seven people were living in a one-bedroom apartment in the building, that illegal wall dividers were erected to house more residents and of open and hazardous holes in the streets outside the building. Also included among the complaints are claims by tenants of low water pressure and no hot water which was attributed to a defective boiler.
At least three DOB violations were also issued against the property owner related to the defective boiler and for "failure to file annual boiler inspection reports." Additionally, one tenant complaint notes that his or her complaints of no heat or hot water were ignored. While it's unclear whether or not the malfunctioning boiler caused or contributed to the blaze, it is clear that the property owner and landlord failed to provide tenants with a safe and hazard-free premise.
New York City residents who have suffered harm, injury and financial losses due to a landlord's or property manager's negligence, should discuss their case with an attorney. New York City tenants have legal rights and landlords who fail to provide, maintain or repair essential building components like boilers and fire alarms should be held accountable for their negligent actions.
Source: Bed-Stuy Patch, "Fire Tears Through Troubled Brooklyn Building," Simone Wilson, July 27, 2015
NYC Department of Buildings, "DOB Violations" 5407 Kings Highway Brooklyn," July 31, 2015