YONKERS, NY — August 18, 2019 — A ravenous and devastating fire consumed 149 North Broadway last Sunday, August 13, 2019, displacing 86 residents: young children, adults, and seniors. Whatever the cause, whether accidental, a code infraction never mitigated, or intentionally set is superfluous to the plight of all the residents that are now among the unintentioned homeless.
The fire was reported shortly before 7pm in the five-story apartment building. Heavy flames caused fire damage on the top floor, while water damage permeated the building throughout. The cause of the fire was under investigation. An initial summation presented by Yonkers Deputy Fire Chief Thomas Fitzpatrick advised the calamity was accidental, yet no final report has yet been divulged.
The Yonkers Department of Housing and Buildings (DHB) is responsible for safeguarding the health, safety and welfare of Yonkers residents, business and property owners in the area of housing and building code enforcement. They issue building permits and certificates of occupancy, conduct inspections and investigate complaints regarding housing and building construction. They are likely to be involved with the investigation at 149 North Broadway in some capacity.
Whatever may be gleaned from a forensic analysis of the fire, one thing is clear, that is that governmental capacity, responsibility, scrutiny, and benevolence has yet to be engaged. At issue is why?
Upon assessing what transpired and what the next steps must be, the Yonkers Office of Emergency Management and Red Cross responded in helping 48 adults and 38 children from 10 families. Those displaced residents were taken to two properties. One was the Yonkers Police Athletic League (PAL) building, the other was the Nodine Community Center.
The concern should have first been presented to the Yonkers Office of Constituent Services who would be expected to inform the Municipal Housing Authority for the City of Yonkers (MHACY) which is a public housing agency in Yonkers, New York. Municipal Housing Authority for the City of Yonkers participates in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV), and Public Housing programs.
The displaced, now former residents of 149 North Broadway had residents who ran the gamut of paying the monthly rental, while others qualified for Section 8 housing. For some unknown reason, the City of Yonkers abrogated its responsibility by throwing its hands in the air as if they did not know how to mitigate this issue with focus toward an expeditious outcome. What is the hold up?
We’ll continue to delve into the issues and glean the treatment of the residents in the aftermath and learn if anything has transpired that may be considered to bring about a remedy.
# # #
We have been afforded the opportunity to speak to one of the displaced adults on on the Westchester On the Level broadcast this Tuesday, August 20th from 10:30-11am. You can listen to the discussion with him “live” or “on demand” via the Internet. The free hyperlink code to access the broadcast is http://tobtr.com/s/11450075. To participate, callers can call 347-205-9201. Callers are requested to be respectful of our guests and to stay on the issue / topic being discussed.