ISD cracks down on code violations

September 22, 2010
By

On Monday, outside an abandoned property on Webster Street, Inspectors from the City of Boston, Fire Marshals and a special unit from the Boston Police examined the outside of the dilapidated home.

Immediately they noticed the home was not properly sealed, had open widows but it did have a sign with a big red X warning firefighters not to enter the home during a fire because of its potential for collapse

“What we are doing is looking for problems with the home and we will contact the owner to let them know they need to do something to fix those problems,” said Boston Deputy Fire Chief Frank Kodzis. “We have been going around the neighborhood to check on properties like this one and others that may not be up to code and pose a risk to the community.”

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 is 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.

The city’s efforts kicked in Eastie where more than 15 buildings were examined. A number of these buildings are new construction and are being monitored by the city because they had suffered a fire in the past.

“With these buildings we need to make sure they are up to code and the contractors are following the building permits exactly,” said Kodzis.

Menino said that the city does not need buildings that pose a serious hazard to residents.

The partial list of buildings being watched here in Eastie does not surprise City Councilor Sal LaMattina.

“We have to take this very seriously here in East Boston,” said 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 the Gove Street triple-decker, a home that housed 13 occupants, and quickly spread throughout the building.

Firefighters were told about Hernandez-Santos on the third floor and that she was having trouble in 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.

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.

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