Sunday, January 27, 2008

Building 475 Kent Avenue Evacuated

Satellite map rendering of 475 Kent Avenue from Live Search Maps


475 Kent Avenue Evacuated, Due to Numerous Violations;
Building Had Illegal Apartments, Matzoh Factory

Over 150 residents of an eleven-story building at Kent Avenue in South Williamsburg were evacuated yesterday after the Fire Department and Buildings Department found a number of violations. The building had been illegally converted to residences and a matzoh factory, complete with two silos of (highly combustible) grain in the basement. A neighboring building was cited as well, and the violations ranged from non-working standpipes (which firefighters use to deliver water to fires), illegal partitions, blocked exits, inoperable sprinkler systems and others, including the illegal grain silos for the unauthorized basement bakery.

Residents were forced to move out by midnight, and many were upset about being asked to do so on an extremely cold night. One emailed Gowanus Lounge:

There are cops and firefighters roaming the halls of my building in south williamsburg telling everyone that the "building is being vacated" at this very moment. my building has about 100 or so people in it and is located at 475 kent ave. apparently there are numerous fire code violations and such. but, instead of trying to fix them, they are attempting to put 100 or so folks on the street on a 20 degree sunday night. i've refused to go anywhere. i have a dog and i have don't know that i can take her anywhere. what really bothers me is that the FDNY believes that my safety is being enhanced by putting myself and my dog on the street on a night where we could both literally freeze to death. this is real and it is indeed happening right now.
Residents were offered housing assistance from the Red Cross, but it's unclear how long that will last and when they will be allowed back in. The building has been slapped with a number of violations over the years.


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