The Real Deal New York

Victims of deadly Bronx blaze plan to sue city for $110M

Notice of claim argues city should have taken custody of toddler who started the fire
January 12, 2018 10:30AM

FDNY attending to the fire that ripped through a building at 2363 Prospect Avenue on Dec. 28 (Credit: Bill de Blasio via Twitter)

Victims of last month’s deadly fire in the Bronx are planning a $110 million lawsuit against the city, arguing that officials should have kept better track of problems at the building and taken custody of the 3-year-old who started the blaze.

A notice of claim was filed Thursday by 11 victims of the inferno against the Fire Department of New York, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the Administration for Children’s Services, according to the Daily News.

It maintains that ACS should have removed the toddler from his mother’s care prior to the blaze, and it also faults the city for not keeping tabs on a broken smoke detector inside the building, not making sure the building’s fire escapes were working properly and failing to ensure that fire hydrants near the building were not frozen.

The fire at 2363 Prospect Avenue broke out on Dec. 28 and killed at least 13 people, making it New York’s deadliest blaze in decades.

The lawsuit’s claimants represent the dead Stewart family, eight people injured in the blaze and one person who escaped. Fire officials said the mother of the child that was playing with the stove left the apartment with her two children, leaving the door open which allowed the blaze to spread quickly.

Howard Alkoff’s D & E Equities bought the five-story, 29-unit building from the city in 1984. Alkoff also owns the neighboring 95-unit building at 2357 Prospect Avenue. [NYDN]Eddie Small