Residents still unable to return home almost 5 months after apartment fire
Nearly five months after a fire at a Fordham apartment building displaced residents, some still are unable to return to their homes.
At least seven people have been living in shelters since that fire took place in September. They say the city has told them it’s unsafe to move back in until the units are fixed, but that they’ve not heard anything from the landlords about when those fixes will be done.
With the help of Legal Aid Society and the Anti-Tenant Harassment Program, they’re filing a lawsuit to hopefully leave shelter living behind and return to their homes.
“We had no other option because time is passing by and we cannot stay there for a long time,” said Amy Herrera, one of the residents displaced from that fire. “We need our lives – I guess, not back, but at least to get better.”
Because Herrera’s oldest daughter was not home when the fire took place, she is not allowed to stay in the shelter, and has to live with her father in Connecticut.
“My little one has been asking for her sister,” said Herrera. “She’s been sad, she says she misses her sister, so that breaks my heart.”
News 12 took a tour of the hallway where the fire happened, including Herrera’s old apartment. The smell of smoke remained in the hallway, and window are out and parts of the floor feel unstable. Lawyers say that these signs of a lack of repair is where they’ll be targeting the landlords in court.
“The timeframe speaks for itself… it’s been nearly five months and little to no work has been done,” said Jason Hadley, attorney from the Legal Aid Society. “The law says that they are supposed to fix the building and make it habitable for the tenants that have leases in this building.”
News 12 reached out to a list of landlords and companies supplied by Legal Aid Society. Only one got back to News 12, saying they do not operate the building where this fire took place.