The Real Deal New York

Landlord could have prevented deadly Bronx blaze with $5 safety cap: lawyer

Fire at 2363 Prospect Avenue in December killed 13 people
February 13, 2018 10:00AM

A massive fire ripped through a building at 2363 Prospect Ave. Dec. 28 (Credit: FDNY)

A $5 child-safety cap for stoves could have prevented the deadly December fire at 2363 Prospect Avenue in the Bronx that killed 13 people, the lawyer for victims of the blaze said.

The fire was sparked by a 3-year-old boy playing with a stove, and attorney Robert Vilensky, who is representing the victims in a pending lawsuit against landlord D&A Equities, said all the company had to do to stop this was purchase the child-safety caps, according to the New York Post.

Vilensky went to the building in January and found that several stoves in the building were worn down and required no pressure to ignite. He also said the mother of the boy who started the fire had complained about the loose knobs prior to the blaze. (Officials previously said the boy had a history of playing with the stove.)

The building suffered from a lack of self-closing doors as well, which made it easier for the fire to spread, Vilensky told the Post.

The fire was the deadliest blaze in New York City in more than 25 years, and Vilensky is representing eight building residents who were injured, as well as family members of three of the dead. He has filed a $110 million notice of claim against the city.

There were three violations and four complaints regarding the building between the years 1993 and 2012, all of which were resolved. On the first floor where the fire started, one apartment had open violations for faulty carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, according to the New York Daily News. D&A, owned by Howard Alkoff, also owns the neighboring 95-unit building at 2357 Prospect Avenue[NYP]Eddie Small