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Death Count Altered in Bronx Blaze, Bldg Was Hit with 2 Dozen Violations

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By: Don Driggers

New York City authorities have revised down the number of people who died in a five-alarm fire inside a Bronx high-rise building on Sunday, as was reported by NPR.

Mayor Eric Adams announced Monday that 17 people lost their lives in the fire, including eight children. City officials previously said on Sunday that 19 people perished in the blaze, including nine children.

“Patients were taken to seven different hospitals. There was a bit of a double count. And I guess it’s a bit of good news that the number isn’t 19 but 17,” New York City Fire Department Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. He added that, “Patients were taken to seven different hospitals. There was a bit of a double count. And I guess it’s a bit of good news that the number isn’t 19 but 17. But don’t forget there are many people fighting for their lives in the hospital. This number could unfortunately increase again.”

“The Bronx building where at least 17 people died in a massive blaze Sunday was cited for more than two dozen violations and complaints — despite $25 million in state loans for repairs,” according to a recent report from The New York Post. “The citations, including for vermin infestation and faulty elevators, came after the 2013 infusion of state cash — and before the building was sold to an investment group two years ago”, records reviewed by The Post show.

The New York Post story reports, “the 19-story, 120-unit building has been hit with complaints and violations since 2014. Part of a complex initially known as Twin Parks, the building went up in 1972 as an urban renewal project constructed by the state UrbaDevelopment Corporation — the present-day Empire State Development Corporation. The building was owned by Cammeby’s International Group, whose principal is real estate mogul Rubin Schron, until it was sold to a consortium of three investor groups in December 2019.

But not before Schron, a pal of onetime state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, got nearly $25 million in state loans to make repairs and upgrades at the building. Since 2014, one year after Schron got the state loans, the building amassed more than two dozen complaints and violations, none related to fire hazards or potential lapses in safety standards, city records show. A message left for Schron Sunday was not returned (to the Post)”.

“The 2019 sale of the building was part of a $166 million deal for eight rent-regulated buildings in the Bronx, according to Real Estate In-Depth. Rick Gropper, the co-founder of one of the three firms, Camber Property Group, was a member of the housing committee for the mayoral transition team of Eric Adams, sources said”, according to The New York Post.

The New York Post article states, “the fire at the building, reported shortly before 11 a.m. Sunday, killed at least 19 people, including nine children, and left dozens of others injured, officials said. It was potentially built outside the New York City Fire Code,” Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said at a press briefing. “Certain buildings can be built under different standards. But, he added, the fire “never extended anywhere else in the building,” and said it appears “that was not a factor”.

The owners of the building and the surrounding development put out a statement saying, “We are devastated by the unimaginable loss of life caused by this profound tragedy. We are cooperating fully with the Fire Department and other city agencies as they investigate its cause, and we are doing all we can to assist our residents.”

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