'Nuisance' West Hempstead Home Investigated for Arson

Lakeview firefighters put out blaze inside multiple-family dwelling that had been riddled with issues.

The Lakeview Volunteer Fire Department once again responded to a home on Barbara Lane in West Hempstead occupied by multiple families when a fire broke out early Thursday morning.

The firefighters responded to the call at 3:34 a.m. and found that the occupants had vacated the residence moments prior their arrival, according to Assistant Chief Heather Senti.

"The front door itself was found to be on fire ... [and] two televisions were left on in two separate rooms as we made our way into the structure to search for potential victims," she added. "Fire was found on the first floor, up the stairway to the second floor and the second floor itself."

The firefighters extinguished the blaze with assistance from West Hempstead, Malverne, Lynbrook, and Rockville Centre, who either responded to the scene or remained on-call at the Lakeview fire house, and then remained at the location until 7:30 a.m. No civilians or firefighters were injured, but the home sustained significant damage.

The Nassau County Fire Marshal's office is investigating the fire due to suspected arson, Senti told Patch.

"This home has had a history of issues," she said. "Our Department has responded there several times for a series of issues including ambulance calls for assault victims, oil burner issues that charged the house with CO, mold and contamination."

Roughly two weeks ago, the department also had to respond to the home for a reported kitchen fire, she added.

Up to nine residents, from three separate families, were found living in Single Room Occupanies (SRO's) throughout the small home, according to Senti and Chief Michael Koppel. After the kitchen fire, the Town of Hempstead Building Department was notified and the home was given a notice for inspection within 30 days of the citation, which was hanging in the window when the firefighters responded Thursday morning.

"The house has been a nuisance for quite some time," said Koppel, adding that said Nassau County Police had also been called to the home on numerous occassions for fights and drug-related problems. "[It] was scheduled to be vacated by the Town. Now, the people have no choice."

Cay Fatima January 26, 2012 at 06:29 AM
Who owned the illegal dwelling?


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