Mayor vows to take steps to crack down on ‘firetraps’

September 10, 2010
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Following the dangerous blaze that destroyed an old warehouse in Roxbury Mayor Thomas Menino has vowed to get tough on what he considers ‘firetraps’ in Boston, which includes several East Boston properties.

Menino has created an abandoned property task force. The task force will be charged with monitoring these potentially dangerous properties in an effort to ensure their safety and the safety of the general public. If owners do not comply or make the necessary repairs ordered by the city, Menino vowed to take them to court.

“We don’t need buildings like this in our city,” Menino said at a recent press conference in front of what was left of the burnt out Roxbury building.

In East Boston, a partial list of buildings being watched includes 15 buildings. A number of these buildings are new construction and are being monitored by the city.

“We have to take this very seriously here in East Boston,” said City Councilor Sal LaMattina. “Here in the neighborhood we have many attached homes and if a family is next to one of these firetraps it could be a dangerous situation where lives are put at risk.”

Back in May a fire on Gove Street killed two El Salvadorian immigrants and was caused by an electrical short circuit according to the Boston Fire Department.

The short occurred in an extension cord in a first-floor apartment at 64 Gove St. The subsequent two-alarm blaze took the lives of both Jose Santos, 48, who died at the scene during the May 29 fire and Berta Hernandez-Santos, 35, who was rescued from the building but died later at Massachusetts General Hospital. The two were recently laid to rest in their native country.

A third victim remains hospitalized with serious burns.

The blaze broke out at 2:30 a.m. in the stairwell at Gove Street triple decker, a tiny home that was packed with 13 occupants, and quickly spread throughout the building.

Firefighters were told of about Hernandez-Santos on the third floor that was having trouble getting out. When firefighters got to her she was already in full cardiac arrest and later died at Mass General in Boston.

Santos died after he was found in the first floor apartment suffering from severe burns.

The owner of the building. Ralph Cirulo, who, along with other family members, owns several local buildings. According to Boston’s Inspectional Services Department, the building, where each apartment is roughly 800 sq. ft., was issued violations for disrepair in 2008. Those violations were corrected according to ISD.

According to BFD spokesman Steve MacDonald, two adults and two children were living on the first floor, four adults were living on the second floor and five adults were living on the third floor.

List of buildings put under watch in East Boston are:

502 SUMNER ST
146 WEBSTER ST
95 MARGINAL ST
00 LEWIS ST
170 MAVERICK ST
210 HAVRE ST
153 PARIS ST
170 BORDER ST
166 BROOKS ST
106 TRENTON ST
259 MERIDIAN ST
231 BORDER ST
145-7 PUTNAM ST
285 PRINCETON ST
1183 BENNINGTON ST

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