NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Residents say firefighters were a welcome sight at a Bronx building after a sickening and thickening mix of soot and smoke invaded many of the 15 apartments at 1802 Lurting Avenue.

Eight people suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Four people were taken to the hospital, four others were treated on the scene, reports CBS2’s Dave Carlin.

“There was, you know, a little boy, a teenager and two grown people put down in the ambulance,” said tenant Felicia Little.

“My sister just wakes me up,” tenant Julio Mazara told CBS2’s Dave Carlin. “Then, she says it’s the boiler, and everything is just smoky black in my room. The next room is my brother’s room, and his room is darker than my room. So then when I check and I go back to my room, now it’s getting darker in my room, and my niece is there – and my niece is a baby, that’s what freaked me out.”

The superintendent ushered us to the soot covered boiler room where technicians questioned the Department of Building’s Claims that its records show the boiler in decent shape just four months ago.

“It didn’t pass it, I don’t know what kind of inspection but it didn’t pass this,” said boiler maintenance technician Anthony Fuller. “You got to stay on top of it, clean it every other year or every year.”

The technician didn’t think the boiler at this location followed that schedule.

A fire official who spoke to CBS2 off camera said too much neglect exists in this and other buildings.

The message for tenants is make sure their carbon monoxide detectors work – and for building owners, make sure a boiler is never allowed to get so caked with soot and filth that it blows.

Department of Buildings inspectors were on the scene and issued a cease use order for this boiler.

“There is no way to accurately determine the condition of a boiler when it is not running,” said NYC Department of Buildings’s Andrew Rudansky in a statement Thursday night. “DOB’s investigation into this incident is ongoing. Enforcement actions related to this incident are pending that investigation.

“Annual boiler inspections, such as the one performed at 1802 Lurting Avenue in November, are performed by private boiler inspectors, who are licensed by the Department of Buildings,” he said. “These private boiler inspectors are hired by the building owner to perform the inspections. The reports for these inspections are then submitted to the Department for our review.”

  1. Darren DeVivo says:

    My name is Darren DeVivo, from WFUV radio. The building in this story is located on Lurting Avenue, on the corner of Morris Park Avenue, in the Morris Park section of the Bronx. My mother lives in this building, and has been a tenant in the same apartment since my parents moved in back in November 1960. I lived in that apartment from 1965 until 1994.

    What was once a shining jewel on Morris Park Avenue has slowly declined to become a run down, deteriorating shell of what it once was. While the gradual deterioration of the building, once known as Morris Park Towers, started under previous ownership in the late 1980s, the present day owners/managers are guilty of allowing the building to decay further.

    One of the major issues with this building has been the boiler. This past winter, the entire building was often allowed to go without heat and water for days on end. Security is also major issue, with outer and inner doors that do not lock and are always damaged. The doorbell/buzzer system is archaic and recently hadn’t worked properly for an extended period of time. There are often people loitering unchecked in the outer hallway. There are no security cameras anywhere on the premises. Several apartments are empty and virtually uninhabitable. I could go on.

    Present day ownership is Lightstone Management in Brooklyn, which is owned by Mike Silber. Somehow, Central Queens Properties in Queens, specifically property manager Chaim Perl, also plays into the management of the building. This morning’s incident is the final straw. Something needs to be done to improve the conditions. There are tenants in their 80s and 90s living there.

    Local politicians, the 49th police precinct, the Morris Park Community Association need to know this situation.

Leave a Reply