Inspectors found 40 illegal tenant spaces in a William Street building during an investigation that has taken the better part of three weeks since a freak fire on Jan. 10.
The dwelling areas "have been built out over the last several years without any permits and or Certificates of Occupancy being issued," Assistant Village Manager Christopher Steers wrote in an e-mail.
The fire started a few minutes after midnight on Jan. 10, and was sparked by spontaneous combustion, fire Chief Kevin McFadden said. A contractor remodeling an office loft left polyurethane-soaked rags in the open overnight; when fumes from the rag built up in the closed space, the rags and dust from a commercial sander caught fire.
If a sprinkler system hadn't kicked in, and if a handful of employees working in a ground-floor recording studio hadn't seen the smoke, the fire could have been disastrous, McFadden said at the time.
The confusion after the fire was captured on a webcast, which was left streaming as the owners of Zedalza Entertainment .
Port Chester's problems with illegal housing, fire hazards and overcrowding have been . But while past code investigations typically wrapped up within a day or two of major fires, the investigation at 200 William St. has taken the better part of three weeks as inspectors documented a staggering number of violations.
In all, inspectors "confirmed 466 code violations," Steers wrote. The Notice of Violation extended to 59 pages and was too large to attach to an e-mail Steers sent out this weekend.
Among the violations: electrical hazards, egress violations, "fire systems violations" and an overtaxed sprinkler system. The sprinkler system was "compromised due to the unlawful build-outs," Steers wrote.
The owner has not responded to inquiries from village employees. The owner also ignored requests for mandatory fire safety inspections last year; the village issued a notice of violation in April of 2011 after inspectors unsuccessfully tried to schedule a walk-through with the owner in January and sent a follow-up notice.
The building is owned by a realty company registered in Kansas City, MO, according to documents.
Village employees have devoted more than 200 man-hours to the investigation and fire, not counting the initial response by firefighters on Jan. 10.
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