Fire at vacant HP home claims two lives

Police taped off the sidewalk in front of 615 Faile Street following last Wednesday’s fatal fire.
Photo by Edwin Soto

A vacant attached row house in Hunts Point has experienced another fire.

At about 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 10, the FDNY responded to a blaze at 615 Faile Street, after receiving a call about a fire on the roof of the two-story vacant building.

Two men in their 30s, believed to have been squatters at the derelict residence, located on Faile Street near Randall Avenue, were killed in the blaze, while 12 others, including four firefighters, were injured.

The blazing inferno was under control at 1:10 a.m., according to the FDNY, who believe that the two men, who were found unconscious inside the private dwelling home, may have died as a result of smoke inhalation.

Both men were taken to Lincoln Hospital, where they were pronounced dead. Names of the deceased victims were not released.

All firefighters were treated for minor injuries.

NYC Department of Buildings then inspected the building, and issued an emergency declaration to seal the vacant building and to have a sidewalk shed erected on part of the property.

DOB inspectors also determined that the property was not in danger of collapsing and that it did not pose an immediate danger to public or neighboring properties.

According to city agency, the current property owners have not filed any permit applications for the demolition of the building.

The Building Information System lists 16 complaints for the property since 2010. Out of those 16 complaints, all but one are in regards to sealing the property and illegal squatters.

The Red Cross provided emergency housing and financial assistance to one family, consisting of one adult and two children, while the other two families declined assistance.

According to Red Cross spokesperson Michael Devulpillieres, the affected residents, who live next door at 617 Faile Street, met with the Red Cross at the scene of the fire and were provided a caseworker to help them navigate the next steps in securing long-term housing.

The two-family brick home, which was built in 1910, is believed to have been vacant since the late 2000s, with the exception of squatters and trespassers.

The building seemed to fall into neglect after the property owner passed away in 2010.

In late March, FDNY responded to a fire at the same location, believed to be started by squatters.

After the building was sealed, squatters regained entry to the building through the rear yard entrance.

The cause of the last Wednesday’s blaze remains under investigation.

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