1 dead in Soundview fire; NYPD investigating as an arson
UPDATE: The NYPD is now investigating this fire as an arson.
According to police, surveillance video was released identifying the suspect in question.
ORIGINAL: The FDNY says one person died in a Soundview fire Sunday afternoon in the Bronx.
The fire started a little before 2 p.m. at 1211 Evergreen Ave. and spread to the home next door. The fire took over an hour to get under control.
One person died, and two others are being treated for minor injuries.
Officials have deemed the fire suspicious due to how heavy the flames were when they arrived.
The Department of Buildings tells News 12 there was already a full vacate order issued on the building since 2018.
Typically, a vacate order means that the owner should not have anyone living in the home. The DOB says that it has now issued an additional order for the building owners to seal the building.
Tenants told News 12 Sunday that the home had no heat and relied on the use of space heaters in the winter. They also said that home was occupied by several different people living in different rooms, many of African descent.
Other residents in the area said that they have not ever seen a landlord or owner taking care of the home.
According to the Department of Finance, the building was last owned by someone named Nandkishore Ramnarine. News 12 tried to reach out to Ramnarine via phone but received the message: "The number you’ve dialed is not in service."
It's still unclear what caused the fire.
The Department of Buildings provided the following statement:
“Vacate Orders are issued when we find conditions at a building that are posing an immediate life safety threat to the occupants. Building owners in New York City have a legal responsibility to safeguard their properties, and in the interest of public safety, they must comply when we issue orders to vacate a property. The owner of 1211 Evergreen Avenue has been issued significant penalties over the last several years for their continued failure to follow DOB orders.”