Rockland County, NY - No Injuries In New Square Building Fire
Rockland County, NY - Residents of a multi-family dwelling in New Square were all evacuated safely yesterday after a fire of unknown origin erupted in the closet of a renovated attic apartment.
Ershte Hilf, the Hillcrest Fire Department and the Spring Valley Fire Department all responded to the Monday afternoon fire, with firefighters climbing several flights of stairs and opening doors to various rooms before locating the fire, which was burning inside a large closet with a light, according to Journal News reports.
Once identified, the blaze was under control within 20 minutes, said firefighter Chris Kear, public information officer for the Hillcrest Fire Department, one of several who responded to the fire. The attic apartment was left uninhabitable in the aftermath of the fire.
Rockland Fire and Emergency Services coordinator Gordon Wren Jr. said that the four story multi-family home at 29 Jefferson Avenue has amassed several violations, including a lack of smoke detectors and a sprinkler system as reported by the Journal News.
A man who declined to give his name but identified himself as the owner of the building at the corner of Jefferson and Lincoln Avenues told VIN News that he purchased the building recently and was working with the local officials to renovate the property and to bring it up to code.
“The building inspector was called down a few weeks ago,” said the man. “All of the facts are known and there is nothing to hide. Everything is in writing and the building is going to be restored.”
Pointing to debris around the building and several rickety staircases the man added, “I’m going to fix all that.”
The man also noted that he believes that the fire was started by chemicals that were stored in the attic, which may have spontaneously combusted because of the heat. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation by the Rockland County Sheriffs Office’s Fire Unit.
According to online real estate site Redfin, the four story multi-family home was built in 1970 and has18 bedrooms and nine bathrooms. Kear estimated that the building had eight to ten apartments and a metal sign on the Jefferson Avenue side of the building proclaimed the site as the home of Community Home Healthcare.
Among those who responded to the fire yesterday was Spring Valley building inspector and firefighter Manny Caroma, who slapped the building with several additional violations yesterday.
Wren said that many of the older buildings in New Square were not built in compliance with local fire codes, but categorized as “one of the worst.”
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