Yesterday’s Cellar Fire Highlights Hazardous Situation at 106 Rivington Street 

Posted on: May 7th, 2015 at 5:00 am by
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In the days following the Second Avenue blast, we reported on the potentially dangerous situation unfolding at 106 Rivington Street. Specifically an alleged faulty boiler in the basement that caused a smoke incident. At the time, neighboring residents and businesses were extremely on edge, worried that the adjacent buildings might suffer a similar fate.

Those fears materialized again yesterday afternoon. For the second time in as many months, a fire sparked on the basement level of 106 Rivington. Neighbors are incensed. One eyewitness tells us that “smoke billowed to the upper floors of 106 Rivington and filled the apartments of 104, 108, and 110.” Economy Candy was also briefly evacuated.

The FDNY quickly responded, and extinguished the threat. One firefighter intimated that this was an extremely “lucky” situation, considering the fire was contained to the center of the building (i.e. didn’t spread) and that it happened during daytime when people are typically more alert. That illegal meshing – installed years ago to combat the terrible rat infestation – was removed to hasten entry.

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Red Cross also came to check the situation. No one was hurt, and the only real damage was to air quality in the nearby tenements.

The fire marshal is reportedly investigating cause of the blaze and should have an official report in the coming weeks. In the meantime, some on the block feel that the cause is the same as before. The aforementioned faulty boiler. A Con Edison employee mentioned back in March that he had “never seen anything like” the shoddy and outright dangerous setup in the cellar (e.g. questionably legal plumbing, and a flue improperly attached to the boiler).

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There are allegations that the incident is related to the resumption of construction work onsite (partial permit), despite myriad unresolved violations. According to city records, there are more than 20 open DOB violations totaling north of $13,000 and 8 ECB infractions in the amount of $41,135. Of great concern, however, is the string of infractions over the last two decades for failure to file the annual boiler inspection.

The building is owned by landlord Sam Wu, whose purported negligence is now further under the microscope. As is the questionable sub-lease situation between Enrique Cruz (CB3 member) and an unknown occupant.

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