Friday, March 31, 2006

Lakewood's Fire Dept warning!

In response to a fire in Lakewood yesterday, the Lakewood Fire Department had this message to relay: APP: .....after firefighters doused the flames that belched from the home's second floor Thursday morning, they routinely sought out the staircase to do mop up and salvage upstairs. They found an obstacle. Fire Chief John Stillwell said the staircase was blocked off with a closet, leaving a wooden staircase behind the house at 210 Central Ave. as the only way in-to — or out of — the second floor. Now, safety questions loom as inspectors try to determine if the house was illegally converted to a two-family home. The fire chief thinks it was — and believes the fire is an example of the rampant overcrowding found in Lakewood...We're finding them more and more in the community," Stillwell said. "It's a very dangerous pattern." Stillwell's fear is that a fire in an overcrowded home will one day kill someone, especially if firefighters battling a blaze assume a house is home to just one family, but instead find more than a dozen people living there. Thursday was one of those cases. The fire was reported at 7:30 a.m. When firefighters arrived, flames and smoke were pouring out from the second floor, Stillwell said. No one was home on the second floor. Stillwell later found out a neighbor ran over to the first floor of the home, frantically banging on the door to alert residents. Stillwell said he counted at least six residents of the first floor. When firefighters finally got upstairs, they discovered seven beds, Stillwell said. "The only entrance and exit to that upstairs apartment was an outside wooden staircase, and that's where seven beds were located?" Stillwell asked incredulously. "That's very dangerous." The home, three blocks from Route 9 and one block south of Lake Carasaljo, is listed on Lakewood property records as a single-family house. But Ocean County's on-line tax records system also lists the home's use as multifamily. After the fire, Lakewood building inspector Michael Saccamanno issued the home's owner, Harold Frankel, a violation for converting a single-family home into a two-family house without permits....Lakewood's code enforcement director, said his office will further review whether the home is certified for multiple families. Mack added that overcrowded houses are a problem in Lakewood. Stillwell issued a warning to the people who live in the homes. "I want them to know that it is unsafe and life-threatening to them and their families," Stillwell added. "These (are) single-family houses being converted into illegal multitenant homes without the proper permits and life-saving thoughts behind the way these conversions are being done."
xmlns:dc="" xmlns:trackback=""> -->

<< Home