A Bronx Supreme Court judge announced earlier this month that all action arising from the Twin Parks North West fire last year will be consolidated under one judge, for all purposes except trial.
In a March 7 administrative order, Doris Gonzalez, the administrative judge for civil matters in the 12th Judicial District, wrote that the clerk’s office is directed to notify other justices who have been assigned Twin Parks fire-related cases, as well as all parties, of the consolidation.
Lucian Chalfen, the director of public information for the New York State Unified Court System, confirmed to the Bronx Times in an email Thursday that even though all Twin Parks cases will be brought before the same judge, that doesn’t mean there will be a consolidation of the cases themselves or the attorneys who represent them.
“The order consolidates all the actions to one judge, as they all have the same respondent,” Chalfen said.
According to the administrative order, there are 65 separate lawsuits filed against the ownership consortium of the Twin Parks North West building — Bronx Park Phase III Preservation LLC — which consists of Belveron Partners, the LIHC Investment Group and the Camber Property Group.
The fire, which elicited multiple lawsuits in the direct aftermath, was one of the Bronx’s biggest stories last year.
RETROSPECTIVE | One year after the deadly Twin Parks fire, a building and its tenants search for normalcy
On the morning of Jan. 9, 2022, a five-alarm fire broke out at the Twin Parks apartment complex at 333 E. 181st St., which investigators later found originated from a space heater and spread rapidly because of the building’s defective self-closing doors.
The blaze at the 19-story building was New York City’s deadliest since 1990. It killed 17 people, including eight children.
At the time of the fire, the 52-year-old building had been flagged with 18 open violations, according to city Department of Housing Preservation and Development records. There had been 174 total violations since Bronx Park Phase III Preservation LLC took over the building in 2020.
Some tenants had filed complaints against their building managers and owners in the year before the fire — claiming that faulty smoke detectors regularly set off false alarms and that the apartments had no heat, among other hazardous conditions.
The ownership consortium has maintained that the heat worked properly at the Twin Parks complex, stating that data from the building’s heat sensors the day of the fire showed an average of 71.2 degrees.
Chalfen confirmed the consolidation has already gone into effect since the administrative order was issued earlier this month. He also said it doesn’t appear that a judge has been appointed to preside over the Twin Parks cases yet.
Reach Camille Botello at [email protected] or (718) 260-2535. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes