Bronx building in deadly blaze had two dozen violations

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The Bronx building where at least 19 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.

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 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.

A firefighter rescues a baby from the blaze.
The 120-unit building was cited for more than two dozen violations and complaints, including vermin infestation and faulty elevators.
Tomas E. Gaston

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.

Emergency personnel from the FDNY respond to an apartment building fire.
The building was erected in 1972 as an urban renewal project constructed by the state UrbaDevelopment Corporation, known today as the Empire State Development Corporation.
REUTERS

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. 

The other two investment firms with ownership of the building are LIHC Investment Group and Belveron Partners.

“We are devastated by the unimaginable loss of life caused by this profound tragedy,” the owners said in a statement.

“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.”

Complaints and violations filed with the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development include several related to roach and mice infestation in two apartments.

“Infestation consisting of roaches in the entire apartment located at apt. 12M, 12th story,” one complaint reported in October said.

Most of the roach and rat complaints revolved around the 12th-floor unit, although another cited mice infestation in a sixth-floor apartment.

A woman receives medical attention after being rescued from the blaze.
The blaze killed 19 people and left dozens of others injured.
Tomas E. Gaston

A report from April last year noted a water leak in the same sixth-floor apartment.

The high-rise has also been the subject of six complaints and 14 violation citations with the city Department of Buildings, records show.

The Sunday morning blaze killed 19 people, including nine children, and injured dozens of others.
AP

All of the violations have been addressed, the records show.

The building was most recently the subject of a DOB complaint on March 25 for not having a working elevator, with a similar complaint filed on April 9, 2019.

Another complaint cited scaffolding that did not meet safety standards in 2015.

Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro speaks to the media following an apartment building fire.
Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said the apartment building was potentially built outside the New York City Fire Code.
REUTERS

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.”

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