Two open doors created deadly smoke ‘chimney effect’ in Bronx skyscraper

“There were people I understand, talking with my neighbors, they were trying to go down the stairs and they tripped over bodies,” said Renee Howard, 68, who was taking refuge Monday afternoon at Monroe College, in the Bronx, after evacuating its house of 30 years. “Oh! Jesus. Help us, God.

A family of five appears to have left their top-floor apartment in an attempt to find safety, only to be swamped by smoke, officials told relatives of the family. The family, the Dukurays, had three children aged 5 to 12, and relatives said they now believe all five are dead.

“I wish I could do anything to tell them not to come out of the house,” said family member Hawa Dukuray. “I think they may have tried to escape.”

She said she was told that by the time they reached “the middle” they could not see through the smoke.

The problems with the self-closing doors do not appear to have been an entirely new problem for the building. Between 2014 and 2019, the city’s housing service had issued offenses for problems with the automatic closing of the doors of four different apartments and of a staircase. Records show another complaint about an issue with a self-closing apartment door in 2021. Everything had been resolved.

There had been complaints about a lack of adequate heating, including three in 2021. These were also resolved, according to city records, and Mr Adams said on Monday there had been no complaints. pending on heating.

The building has belonged to a trio of investors since early 2020: LIHC Investment Group, Belveron Partners and Camber Property Group. One of Camber’s executives, Rick Gropper, served as Mr. Adams’ housing adviser and contributed $ 400 to his mayoral campaign, the maximum amount allowed for those doing business with the city. He and other associates also donated to other Democrats.

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