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Five-Alarm Fire Spreads Through Bronx Building with History of Complaints

Metro.us - September 28, 2017

by metro.us

A five-alarm fire on Wednesday morning blazed through the top of a Bronx apartment building that has a history of resident complaints and Department of Building violations.

The fire department responded to a call around 6:30 a.m. of a fire at 1920 Walston Ave. in Mount Hope, an FDNY spokesman said.

The fire was between the roof and ceiling and within the walls on the top floor of the six-story building, the spokesman said. It took “a lot of manpower” to battle the blaze, he added.

In total, 44 units from the fire department and EMT were on the scene, and nearly 200 firefighters were involved in the effort. Eight firefighters and four civilians received minor injuries.

Officials didn’t immediately identify what sparked the flames, and the cause is currently under investigation by the fire marshal.

The building seems to have a spotty record, with more than 60 complaints and 29 violations, according to the Department of Buildings.

Many elderly and disabled people live in the building, according to the records. Multiple complaints were filed last summer concerning the elevator malfunctioning and trapping residents.

One complaint noted that the elevator was necessary in the six-story building because “there are a lot of elderly people that cannot make it up the stairs.” Another mentioned that the elevator was out for two weeks, specifically affecting at least one resident who “is disabled and needs assistance.”

Issues with the elevator stemmed back to at least 2006, records showed. The building also saw complaints about a collapsing roof and “rotted out” support beams from the early 2000s.

In 2005, one caller was concerned by exposed electrical wires that were “sparking” in their bedroom. In 1998, a caller said that the building was in “deplorable condition.”

The building management, listed as 1920 Walton LLC, could not immediately be reached for comment. The listed phone number was a wrong number.

There are 84 units in the building, according to Property Shark. FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro told DNAinfo that many of the residents on the top floors won’t be able to immediately return after the fire.

“There will be a number of families homeless tonight, unfortunately," he said.