Two die in illegal basement apartment

From the New York Times:

Fire in Subdivided Basement Kills Two in a New Jersey Home

ENGLEWOOD, N.J., Aug. 30 — A four-alarm fire tore through a three-story wood house on James Street here on Wednesday, killing two residents who, the authorities said, were living in illegal basement apartments. A tenant in a third basement apartment was critically injured.

The fire started around 3:40 a.m., said Chief Robert Moran of the Englewood Fire Department, and the flames quickly spread to the first and second floors of the house. In all, 14 people were in the house at the time of the fire, and most were members of the family that owns the property, Chief Moran said.

Chief Moran said that the basement had been divided into individual units, but that the city’s planning office had no record of permits being issued to the owner, Oscar Cortes, for the work. Deputy Chief Arthur O’Keefe of the Englewood Police Department said charges were likely to be filed against Mr. Cortes for illegal units. Arson investigators said the fire was accidental, but they had not determined how it started.

A shortage of low-cost housing has become a growing problem in Bergen County, and illegal conversions are becoming more common, Bergen County officials said. Mayor Michael Wildes of Englewood said that in recent years the growing number of illegal immigrants moving into the city had led landlords to capitalize on the situation.

“It is a tremendous challenge in our nation and in our city where people with economic challenges are forced into these situations,” Mr. Wildes said.

He said that he did not know how many illegal units Englewood had but that the city had been increasing inspections in recent months.

“Any landlord that profits or benefits from situations like this should be prosecuted,” he said.

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44 Responses to Two die in illegal basement apartment

  1. grim says:

    From the Star Ledger:

    Officials step up housing checks

    For years, South River residents have complained to the borough about multiple families living in single-family homes and unauthorized additions or renovations to houses in the borough.

    The borough is now cracking down on “illegal” housing after passing a number of stricter ordinances in the spring and has been conducting aggressive inspections of dwellings since July, South River officials said.

    Szegeti said in an interview that, “inspections have uncovered as many as six families living in a split-level house that was meant for one family, dwellings with non-functioning smoke detectors, zero permits issued for basements that have been finished for living and unsafe bedrooms without proper egress.”

    People make makeshift apartments,” Albert Seaman, borough clerk explained. “They use electrical extension cords instead of proper electrical wiring that have been set out by the borough’s guidelines.”

  2. Anonymous says:

    if englewood thinks it has a problem

    try palisades park,, fairview,
    york,north bergen,passaic,the
    list just goes on and on.

    NJ is turning into a third world
    state. Of course at the taxpayer

    A friend of mine was at the
    englewood Social Security office
    recently. Told me it looked like
    a foreign country.

    How stupid are we?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Housing in the NorthEast has sucked for years. When multifam homes in newark are going for 650,000 owners have no choice but to chop up apartments. family rooms become one bedrooms and basments become studios. If I had the option I would be looking to move out of state. But Im sure if its better there. My coworker just retired and bought a house in charlett NC for 450,000. there is six bedroom and an acre of land but I still think that is too much

  4. Anonymous says:

    A friend of mine was at the
    englewood Social Security office
    recently. Told me it looked like
    a foreign country.

    I dont have a problem with foreigners, because unless you are a Indian you are a foreigner as well. The problem is affordable housing in NNJ. I think you friends statement is ignorant and kinda racist. Remember your grandparents are equal to the Mexicans of the present time. America is made of many cultures and backgrounds. If you dont like it move to a compound in Mississippi were there is only one race and they dont allow other people in. It called K*K

  5. Anonymous says:

    and please dont forget that
    the NJ taxpayer is taking
    a good screwing for all
    the give a ways that are going

    Its no wonder NJ has a white flight

    This will simply turn into a dark
    state, with welfare, food stamps,
    s8 housing,english as a second ,
    shelters for the illegals,etc.

    I feel sorry for those who do not
    understand what has happened not
    only in NJ but in the country.

    By the way in North Carolina
    they have the problem as well.

    speak to anyone who is familiar
    with the locals.

  6. Anonymous says:

    New Jersey and North Carolina along with California, Texas,Florida,New York,Illinois,
    Arizona,and Georgia account for 50%
    of the illegal aliens in the US.

    So if you are moving to any of these states you can apply for
    your Matriculas at the Mexican
    Consulates located in your area.

  7. Rich52 says:

    This has been happening for decades in NY. Just look at Queens/Brooklyn, most single family homes are considered two or three family at least.

  8. Anonymous says:

    North Carolina has
    a very serious illegal

    Just today they had
    a bust for the issue
    of illegal driver licenses.

    Good luck, in N.C.

  9. Pingback: Anonymous

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