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.”