High levels of carbon monoxide caused by illegally installed heaters led to 28 residents falling ill and 100 being evacuated from a complex in New York’s Long Island.

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.

545 Fulton Avenue, Hempstead

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.

Email Veronika Bondarenko

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