At least 28 people reported feeling ill at a complex on 545 Fulton Ave in Hempstead by 7 a.m. on Wednesday, according to the Suffolk Daily Voice. Nine, including a mother and a baby who had both passed out, were rushed to the hospital with high levels of carbon monoxide in their blood.
Fire authorities found that the complex, which is made up of 16 units, had illegally installed heaters in each one of the units — some were placed in closets and cabinets. After firefighters investigated the entire complex and deemed it unsafe, around 100 people were evacuated. Most of its residents came from immigrant and low-income backgrounds.
Hempstead Trustee Waylyn Hobbs said the heaters were installed without a permit or proper plumbing and natural gas hookups. Many of the units were also used to make illegal bedrooms using partitions or even hung blankets.
The building’s owner, Pebble LLC, and the landlord will be subject to several violations.
“We realized this was a situation where a landlord was taking advantage of people who would not normally report these violations,” Hobbs said at a press conference about the incident. “This could have turned out much worse than it did.”
The gas in the building has been shut off and all the remaining residents have been evacuated. They have been bused to a nearby community center but may be homeless for up to 15 days until gas is turned back on.
Are you ready for what the industry holds in 2020? Inman Connect New York is your key to unlocking opportunity in a changing market. At Connect you will gain insight into the future, discover new strategies and network with real estate’s best and brightest to accelerate your business. Create your 2020 success story at Inman Connect New York, January 28-31, 2020.
Thinking of bringing your team? There are special onsite perks and discounts when you buy tickets together. Contact us to find out more.