ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. -- Rockland County Executive Ed Day said that the owner of a multi-family home in Spring Valley where a tenant was burned in a fire has been cited for numerous violations of the sanitary code.
Day instructed the Rockland County Department of Health to inspect 10 Columbus Ave., Spring Valley after fire was reported there at 4:30 a.m. Sunday.
One tenant suffered serious burns. The blaze left 20 people homeless.
Day praised volunteer firefighters from Spring Valley, South Spring Valley and Hillcrest who responded to the blaze as well as Spring Hill Community Ambulance Corps.
"Without their efforts, this could have been a lot worse," he said.
Inspectors found that the home had been illegally subdivided into a maze of apartments. Tenants said they paid a total of nearly $5,000 cash rent.
"This is exactly the kind of abuse by unscrupulous landlords that we are determined to end," the County Executive said. "No landlord should be able to collect a hefty rent from people living in dangerous housing. No one will live in this house again until it is safe."
Health Department inspectors cited the owner, Yosef Frieder, of New Square, with 11 violations, including failure to sign up with the Rockland County Rental Registry.
Other violations included inadequate smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, illegal use of a basement as an apartment, lack of a second exit in a third-floor apartment, trash and debris around the property and other issues.
The house was posted as uninhabitable.
A re-inspection will be conducted to make sure the violations are corrected. If they are not, the owner will have an opportunity to appear at an administrative hearing.
The Rockland Board of Health will have the option to assess fines.
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