Yonkers Seven Pines apartment fire sparks new lawsuits

Over 60 residents of Yonkers apartment building that suffered a big fire in january filed a lawsuit against the building’s owners and the management company earlier this month.

The lawsuit, filed on October 5, is one of three filed to date in the aftermath of the fire. One was filed by a retired home inspector last month and the other was filed last week by the tenant of the apartment where the fire started.

“I feel disrespectful and ignored,” said resident Magdeline Wills, one of dozens of plaintiffs in the lawsuit. “There are still things going on in the building that are related to the fire and here we are, what, eight months later.”

Wills paid to stay in a hotel for about a month after the fire (her renters’ insurance ended while in hospital with COVID-19 just before the fire).

The lawsuit cites the negligence of the Seven Pines Tower at 1 Glenwood Avenue in maintaining the electrical system, damage to residents’ apartments, injuries they sustained and concerns about the safety of the building when residents were left behind. allowed to return.

Damage from a fire in January can be seen outside an apartment building on Glenwood Avenue in Yonkers on September 23, 2021. The fire caused extensive damage to the building.  Residents say it is dangerous to live in the building after the fire, and much of the work done to repair the damage is being done without proper permits and documentation.

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Seven Pines and its management company, H&S Management, are on the list of defendants, along with two home care companies and one of their employees who was assisting a resident at the time of the fire. The lawsuit alleges that the worker did not close the door behind her when leaving the apartment when the fire broke out. Attempts to reach each defendant were unsuccessful.

Robert Vilensky, the lawyer representing the dozens of residents involved in the lawsuit, said the mechanisms on the building’s doors – which would have closed them automatically and prevented the fire from spreading – failed.

Aside from property damage and post-traumatic stress, Vilensky said some of his clients suffered from smoke inhalation or were injured when they had to jump from balcony to balcony in an attempt to escape .

In her 19th-floor apartment, Wills suffered smoke damage from the fire and had to replace a laptop computer she uses when working from home. Even after her apartment was cleaned, Wills continued to find soot entering her apartment, she said in an interview last week.

Magdeline Wills is among a group of residents of the Seven Pines Tower building who are suing the management company after a fire on January 6, 2021 caused extensive damage to the building.  Wills, pictured October 13, 2021, and the other residents are suing the complex over damage to people's apartments and injuries sustained in the blaze.

According to the lawsuit, the fire originated in a radiator and a faulty electrical outlet it was plugged into, in a third-floor apartment that tripped a circuit breaker.

Wills and other residents were concerned about the building’s electrical system before the fire.

Shortly after Wills moved in three years ago, she decided not to use an outlet in the baseboard heater – “I said oh my God, that thing doesn’t look safe”, said. she declared.

Munesta Faulkner, a tenant on the 10th floor and also a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said she told management she was concerned about the building’s electrical wiring on several occasions before the fire. She noticed that the lights were twinkling in her apartment and when an electrician came to examine an outlet that concerned her, he said it was fried.

“We could have had a fire in this apartment,” Faulkner said.

Faulkner remembers the shock of opening her apartment door and being hit in the face by a wall of smoke during the fire. She still has nightmares and had to seek treatment from a psychologist.

In the days following the fire, the Red Cross paid for her and his wife to stay in a hotel, but after about a week and a half they had to pay out of pocket.

A building on Glenwood Avenue in Yonkers, pictured on September 23, 2021, suffered extensive damage in a fire in January.  Residents say it is dangerous to live in the building after the fire, and much of the work done to repair the damage is being done without proper permits and documentation.

Faulkner said she is concerned about the safety of the building and for this reason many residents have moved or, like her, are considering doing so.

Clarice Ingram and Robert Cantine never returned to live in their apartment a few doors down from the unit where the fire broke out. They lost most of their belongings due to the damage caused by the smoke.

Cantine was in the building when the fire started and said he also had to seek treatment for the damage to his mental health. He also had knee surgery after an injury he sustained while running out of the building.

For many of Vilensky’s clients, hearing the sirens brings them back to the day of the fire.

Wills, who had only been home for two days after being hospitalized with COVID-19 when the blaze started, had to be evacuated from the building by firefighters.

She said: “It was something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. It was very traumatic.”

Contact Diana Dombrowski at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @domdomdiana

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