NYC Evicts 200 Residents to Sleazy Motel After Building Mistake
City government can't explain how they okayed move to remove fire escapes
A Bronx building was evacuated Tuesday after an approval to remove the building's fire escapes left over 200 residents displaced, according to the New York Daily News.
The move to remove the building's fire escapes was requested to redo the facade of the structure. But in approving this plan of an engineer whose license was suspended in 2005, the residents of 2400 Webb Avenue in the Bronx, have now been uprooted.
“The owner is telling us we have to go to some sleazy motels,” added Willie Westmoreland, 50, a seven-year resident. “How are you going to take me out of my three-bedroom apartment, where I pay $1,700 per month, and send me to a motel where people pay by the hour and bring their sleazy girlfriends?”
City Buildings Department Commissioner Robert Limandri insisted they never gave the owners, Goldfarb Properties, permission to tear down the fire escapes.
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But Limandri could not explain why they okayed an April 27 building permit application which clearly states the owner’s intention to “remove six fire stairs at the subject premises, per plans submitted herewith.”
Tenant Yvonne Tyson had a leak in her apartment.
“He asked me to show him how I knew to open it in case of a fire,” said Tyson, a 66-year-old college professor. “I said, ‘What’s the point? I don’t have a fire escape.’ He looked out and told me it was a problem.”
In no time dozens of inspectors descended on the seven-story University Heights building, which has 75 apartments — and the city declared it a fire trap.
Roland Draper, the Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.-based engineer who submitted the application, declined to comment.