Watch CBS News

Actions pending against landlord of illegally converted Bronx home after deadly fire

Actions pending against landlord of illegally converted Bronx home
Actions pending against landlord of illegally converted Bronx home 02:15

NEW YORK -- The Department of Buildings says, in the wake of a deadly fire, enforcement actions are pending against the landlord of a Bronx home that had been illegally converted into over a dozen units.

Saturday, crews boarded up the home on Grand Avenue in the University Heights section where the DOB has issued a full vacate order, leaving 15 people homeless, according to the American Red Cross.

"People need a place to live, and I guess this is where it was at," University Heights resident Tony Pilir said.

Citizen video shows fire engulfing the single-family home on Friday, the flames rapidly spreading throughout the three-story structure.

DOB officials say the home was illegally converted into 17 occupancy units.

Fire officials say when firefighters arrived, they made a grim discovery -- a man dead in the attic.

"And it appeared not to be a livable space, we found no bed in there, so we don't know what he was doing in that attic," Deputy Fire Chief William McCormack said.

A massive charred section of the home visible from the back. Our cameras captured one person, believed to be a resident, being allowed inside. Another man told us he came to check on a car that he paid to park there.

In the dark, others removed dozens of boxes from the garage.

DOB inspectors say they found illegal units on all levels of the home, including the attic. Inspectors also say they previously issued violations to the landlord for "illegal conversion issues."

This is the third time this week where illegal units have been discovered across the city.

A Queens building owner faces fines for illegally housing asylum-seekers. On East Kingsbridge Road, inspectors say they found 34 beds on the first floor of a building, believed to be housing migrants.

No word on whether people living in the home on Grand Avenue were seeking asylum.

"Rent is very high, and it's hard to live," Pilir said.

The American Red Cross says the organization is helping and lodging nine families who lived in the home. They also say families are receiving financial assistance and are being connected with groups.

We were unable to get comment from the landlord.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.