Fire hits Harlem’s Ennis Francis Houses amid work on new site

Dozens of tenants waiting to relocate to eight-story building
August 26, 2014 01:00PM

A fire tore through the Ennis Francis Houses, a complex owned by Pastor Calvin Butts’ Abyssinian Development Corporation. Butts’ company has been planning to move tenants out of the property to a new eight-story building in Harlem.

Dozens of tenants of the dilapidated apartment complex at West 124th Street near Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard have been waiting to relocate to the other site. Abyssinian resumed work on the project in April after running out of funds.

The blaze spread Friday from a second-floor apartment after both the sprinkler and alarm systems failed, according to the New York Daily News. The fire’s cause is being investigated. Three firefighters suffered minor injuries in putting out the fire.

The public housing site has racked up violations over the years for mold, bugs and a lack of heat. Abyssinian took over the building in 2005 from Herbert Wright. [NYDN]Mark Maurer