As dozens of people remain homeless after a Sunday four-alarm fire destroyed homes in the Claremont section of the Bronx, now fire officials suspect the fire began from a crack pipe—and many crack pipes were found in a room of an SRO rented by former Knicks great Dean "The Dream" Meminger. Meminger, 63, suffered smoke inhalation and is in critical condition at a burn unit in Jacobi Hospital.
WCBS 2 reports, "Neighbors complained that the building where it started is an illegally sub-divided single-room occupancy hotel cited last year by the city for overcrowding. They're also wondering how the former all-American point guard and basketball great ended up at a place like this," with one adding, "I'm saying to myself, 'Why is he living around here?' Hard to believe." The Post gives some possible explanation: "But after 'Dean the Dream' ended his career in 1977 with the Knicks, his world began to teeter as he continued his late-night ways -- a party scene that left him struggling for years with cocaine addiction and alcoholism."
According to the Daily News, "It was not immediately clear whether the pipes belonged to Meminger." Meminger's son, NY1 reporter Dean Meminger Jr., told the paper, "I haven't spoken to investigators. I'm just concerned about his safety... We're praying and just hoping. We're asking New Yorkers, pray for him. He's a great New Yorker."