Blaze kills woman in illegally converted basement

December 03, 2013 05:15PM

An unnamed woman living in an illegally converted Borough Park basement apartment was killed in a fire yesterday.

The woman was found in a bedroom at 909 57th Street, where it took 60 firefighters 45 minutes to put out the flames. “Our units arrived within three minutes and [found] the condition to be a fire in the basement,” Deputy Chief William Tanzosh said. “In that bedroom we did find one female who was passed away due to the fire,” he told the New York Post.

Chi Chun Lo, who owns the three-story brick townhouse, was served with a partial vacate order in December because of the illegal conversion, Gothamist said. Department of Buildings inspectors found the “residence altered, without a work permit,” and also without an unobstructed exit, according to DOB records. The illegal conversion was first documented by the agency in 1990.

In their attempts to extinguish the blaze and check the dwelling, firefighters were hindered by bars on the basement and first-floor windows, according to the New York Daily News. [Gothamist] [NYP] [NYDN]Julie Strickland