Ten people were injured in a two-alarm fire Saturday morning at a Bronx apartment building where the management had been issued a violation for failure to install self-closing doors in one apartment, according to reports filed with the city.
Around 6:11 a.m., firefighters responded to a call at a six-story building at 2397 Grand Avenue near Fordham Road, where there were reports of a fire in a third-floor apartment, FDNY said.
More than 100 firefighters from 25 units battled the fire, and ten people were reported injured, including one firefighter, FDNY said. A pregnant woman and two children were rescued from the fourth floor, FDNY Deputy Chief David Simms told reporters at the scene.
Five of the injured were taken to St. Barnabas Hospital, two were taken to Jacobi Hospital and three refused medical attention. News 12 reported the minor injuries were related to smoke inhalation. The fire was brought under control by 7:25 a.m., and the investigation into the cause continues, FDNY said.
The fire spread because the apartment door was left open, said Chief Simms.
The management of the Grand Avenue building was cited by the city’s Housing and Preservation Department (HPD) on January 19th for failure to maintain a self-closing door in a third-floor apartment.
“Arrange and make self-closing the doors ... in the entrance located at apt 3e, 3rd story, 1st apartment from north at east,” the violation said.
The necessity of self-closing doors, which are a city requirement in large residential buildings, were highlighted in the horrific Twin Parks fire last month, which killed 17 people in nearby Fordham Heights after a space heater malfunctioned and broken self-closing doors in the building failed to stop the spread of smoke.
"Self-closing doors are required in all buildings with three or more apartments" as a fire safety measure, according to HPD.
FDNY said the fire began in a different apartment, unit #3B, where a number of open violations were issued on December 14th, 2021 including non-functioning smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and a broken electrical outlet in one of the rooms.
There have been dozens of complaints about the building from residents in the past year, including anonymous complaints on January 15th, 2022 and then again on January 21st, 2022, filed with the HPD saying that there was no heat in the entire building. Most of the other complaints involve mice, leaks, mold or ceiling collapses.
Attempts to contact the owner of the building, a corporation called 2395-97 REALTY LLC and its manager Sam Applegrad, were unsuccessful Saturday.
The city’s Department of Buildings and the HPD were at the scene Saturday assessing conditions. At least one apartment in the building is under the purview of the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, according to records.
One fire official said the frigid temperatures Saturday morning left one nearby hydrant frozen, according to the Daily News. The cold also meant the remaining residents were vulnerable, as electric, heat and gas service had been turned off for the entire building while city officials assessed damage, according to Councilmember Pierina Ana Sanchez who represents the University Heights neighborhood.
Sanchez said she was worried about the Grand Avenue residents resorting to using unsafe space heaters like the one that led to the Twin Parks fire. “We know that they're one of the leading causes of residential fires,” she said. “Part of what we're doing as we go door to door is just to remind folks to be very careful with whatever they're using to get by during this cold time.”