May 14, 2018 By Tara Law
Firefighters discovered the body of a 39-year-old man in the wreckage of a fire that injured 12 others in Elmhurst on Friday.
Emergency responders were called to the fire at 40-46 Case Street at around 5:13 a.m. on Friday.
Fire fighters managed to extinguish the blaze, but in the process eight of them suffered minor injuries, according to FDNY. Three residents of the building were found to be seriously injured, and a fourth was in critical condition by the time the fire was out.
Firefighters investigating the fire the next day found the 39-year-old man’s body. Emergency responders pronounced him dead on the scene. Police have yet to release his name.
The house was a dangerous fire trap, officials said, since it had been illegally converted to multiple units.
The Department of Buildings investigators issued the building owner with multiple violations for illegal conversions after inspecting the fire damage. The legal two family home had been converted to multiple units on the first floor, and an extra apartment had been created in the basement.
The roof of the building collapsed during the fire, and the second floor and the attic of the building were badly damaged according to the Department of Buildings.
The victim was a Bangladeshi immigrant working towards a college degree, according Councilmember Francisco Moya.
Moya gave his condolences to the victim’s family in a statement and called for the fire to be thoroughly investigated.
Moya also noted that the fire was an example of the dangers of weak residential laws.
“Similar illegal conversions are a common practice in Elmhurst and Corona,” Moya said. “This tragedy might have been prevented if we had stronger laws on the books for absentee and negligent landlords.”
Just enforce the existing zoning laws.