FDNY finds dead man, illegal apartments after house fire – NBC New York

A home in the Bronx has been emptied, not just because of the destructive fire that tore through its three floors on Friday afternoon, but because investigators discovered the home had been illegally converted into more than a dozen single rooms.

The crowded residence on Grand Avenue first came to the attention of investigators when 911 calls were made around 2 p.m. for reports of a fire in the home. Videos show flames and smoke engulfing the home in Kingsbridge Heights as firefighters arrived and raced to put out the blaze.

Once the smoke cleared, firefighters made a grim discovery inside the attic of the single-family home.

“We discovered that we had one male deceased in the building,” FDNY Deputy Chief William McCormack said Friday.

But it’s where the victim was discovered that depended the investigation.

“It appeared not to be a livable space. We found no bed in there, so we don’t know what he was doing in that attic,” McCormack added.

Inspectors with the Department of Buildings started digging into the residence and found the single-family home had illegally been converted into 17 single-room occupancy units, including the cellar and the attic, where the man died.

Officials ordered the residence vacated and boarded up. At least 10 people who appeared to have lived in the building were being assisted by the Red Cross.

The Bronx home is the latest in a string of illegal apartments uncovered by city officials in just the past week.

On Wednesday, police found an illegal migrant shelter in a commercial Fordham building with 34 beds on the first floor and another 11 tightly packed in the basement.

And one day earlier, more than 70 migrants were found living in the basement of a Queens business after a neighbor called to complain about e-bikes near the property.

The identity of the victim was not known as of Friday night, nor was the cause of what started the fire. The investigation is ongoing.

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