A fire in a compressor in a mechanical room of a has led to the discovery of safety problems inside the building that need to be corrected, according to Port Chester officials.
Port Chester firefighters discovered an open freight elevator shaft in the building as they were battling the , and Christopher Steers, assistant village manager, said a second open shaft was found in the building on Monday.
Steers said the building’s owners are cooperating with an investigation following the fire, and that inspections of the building will likely continue for the rest of the week. Although the Saturday’s fire was contained to the small room housing mechanical equipment for the building, power to the building was cut off on Saturday as a safety measure and remained disconnected throughout the day Monday.
said problems created by internal divisions of the building made movement in the building problematic for firefighters. A sprinkler system in the building worked — with water from the sprinkler helping firefighters to locate the fire — but firefighters had difficulty finding the valve to turn off the water.
As firefighters checked the smoke-filled building for the fire, McFadden said two firefighters discovered an open elevator shaft on the second floor of the building. McFadden said the firefighters could have been seriously injured if they had fallen into the open shaft.
After inspections inside 106 Purdy Ave. today, Steers said the open freight elevators shafts were among a series of problems in the building. He noted that some problems appear to have been created as alterations were done inside the building to suit the needs of commercial tenants.
Some of the problems included blocked exits and walls erected in such a way that they created areas cut off from the protection of fire sprinklers.
Companies in the building include and . Officials said the building has warehouse space used by La Marqueta.
Saturday’s fire was discovered about 5:30 p.m., when smoke was pouring from the building. However, when firefighters arrived they had difficulty determining where the fire was located and how to get into the building.
The building was closed at the time of the fire. McFadden said water running out of the Grace Church Street side of the building from the activated sprinkler system led firefighters to the fire, which has been determined to have been accidental.
About 50 Port Chester firefighters spent more than two hours at the building. No one was injured.
McFadden said the open freight elevator shaft at first looked like an entrance to another room in the smoke-filled building. He said firefighters realized just in time that they had discovered an open shaft.
Both of the open shafts are for working freight elevators, according to village officials.