Grand Street Fire Update

Workers inside the Grand Street buildings destroyed in last week's fire remove personal belongings from apartments to be inspected for evidence. In this photo, you can see clothes being thrown from windows, into a large bin on the street.

Here’s an update on the efforts to help the victims of the Grand Street fire:

Grand Street Tenants Ask Fire Officials Tough Questions

285 Grand Street - 7 Alarm Blaze

Photo by Leung Photography via Flickr.

Last night, city officials faced pointed questions from tenants about the Fire Department’s response to last Sunday night’s devastating blaze on Grand Street.  The residents had came to an informational meeting in Chinatown, which included briefings from several city agencies.

Officials addressed many of their concerns about short-term housing arrangements, retrieving their belongings from the destroyed buildings and applying for government assistance. But there was frustration that no one was able to answer questions about the events that took place the night of the blaze broke out in 283 Grand, and spread to three other buildings.

Grand Street Fire Update

Contractors are working quickly to take down the Grand Street buildings destroyed by fire one week ago. This was the scene yesterday afternoon — workers hovering above the wreckage, carefully removing the top floors of 283 and 285 Grand.

On Saturday, about 100 displaced tenants staying in Midtown hotels were relocated to different hotels in Harlem and Queens. The shift was upsetting to many of the residents, who at least for now, are far removed from their community. City officials tell the Daily News “We want to get them back close to their home community for schools and things like that.”

Residents Displaced by Fire Attend Briefing in Chinatown

Margaret Chin, City officials and community leaders meet with fire victims in Chinatown.

The human toll of this week’s destructive fire on Grand Street came into sharp focus last night. A large number of residents displaced by the blaze crowded into the basement of the Chinese Benevolent Association on Mott Street for an informational meeting with city officials and community leaders.

Sitting in the front row — the family of 87-year old Sing Ho, a longtime resident of 283 Grand, who died in Sunday night’s fire, unable to escape his sixth floor apartment. Ho’s daughter, fighting back tears, demanded answers about how the fire started and why her father could not be rescued (more of what she had to say this weekend).

Dramatic New Photos Show Devastation Caused by Grand Street Fire

From Grand Street, the destruction caused by Sunday night’s fire looks bad enough. But this morning, we have new photos taken from inside 289 Grand (the building on the corner of Grand and Eldridge Streets) illustrating the full extent of the devastation to two neighboring buildings.

The photos were taken by Chris Kui, executive director of Asian Americans for Equality. Yesterday afternoon, he was taken inside the heavily damaged (but salvageable) building by an official with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).  The city made the call earlier this week to demolish 283 and 285 Grand. The photos after the jump help explain why they made that decision so quickly.

Fire Update: Elected Officials Reach Out to Displaced Tenants

Tomorrow evening, elected officials and representatives from NYC agencies will meet with residents who were displaced by Sunday night’s fire on Grand Street. It will be a chance for tenants of 283 and 285 Grand street to ask questions and resolve any concerns they have about transitioning from emergency housing (in a midtown hotel) to short-term housing elsewhere in the city. The meeting will take place at the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, 62 Mott Street, at 5:30pm.

Elderly Man Missing After Grand Street Fire

An elderly man who was inside one of the apartment buildings that went up in flames on Grand Street last night has not been accounted for. City Councilmember Margaret Chin, who has spent most of the day on the scene, explained the situation to reporters a short time ago.

Two Grand Street Buildings Likely to Be Demolished, Housing Advocates Examine Fire Code Violations

We just returned from the scene of the Grand Street fire. Officials from the Fire Department and the Dept. of Housing Preservation & Development briefed City Councilmember Margaret Chin a short time ago. They have determined that two out of three of the buildings damaged last night will probably be demolished, due to safety concerns. They have been trying to reach the owner of the buildings, but as of an hour ago,  had not been successful. A final decision about demolition will be made at 5pm.

Huge Fire Breaks Out in Chinatown

285 Grand Street - 7 Alarm Blaze

Photo from Leung Photography via Flickr.

A 7 alarm fire broke out in Chinatown last night, injuring several people. Firefighters converged on a 6-story residential and commercial building at 283-285 Grand Street, shortly after 10pm. 10 firefighters, a medical worker and three civilians were among those being treated – it does not appear any of the injuries are life threatening.

The building (near Forsyth Street) has 16 apartments. 250 firefighters were called to the scene. They rolled up three ladders, plucking frightened residents from fire escapes. The fire then spread to neighboring buildings.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. More to come…