Posted by Jack on July 20, 2001 at 07:32:17:
new york times today:
July 20, 2001
Contractor Is Arrested Over Stairway
By SUSAN SAULNY
contractor was arrested yesterday on charges that he
illegally removed three flights of stairs from a 19th-century
five-story walk-up building in Manhattan, forcing a rooftop
evacuation of dozens of people, the police said.
In response to complaints from tenants, police officers arrived
at 21 West 106th Street around 11 a.m. and found that the
staircases on the third, fourth and fifth floors had been removed,
leaving some tenants unable to enter or leave their apartments.
The contractor, Wilfredo Heredia of Heredia Iron Works on
West 105th Street in Manhattan, was charged with working
without a building permit and driving with a suspended license,
the police said. No explanation was given for his action.
The landlord, Barry Singer, was not present, the authorities
Tenants in the building said they woke up to a chaotic scene.
Darlene Oliver, 38, a dental assistant who lives on the second
floor, said: "We heard a whole lot of noise, rumbling and
banging, things going down the steps. I opened the door. I saw
rubble all over the floor. I looked up and the steps were gone."
Tenants on higher floors yelled to her that they could not get
Firefighters used ladders to get past gaps in the stairs. They
evacuated people by leading them to the roof, over to an
adjacent building, then down its stairs.
Zenobia McDaniel, 67, has lived in the building since 1960.
She said tenants were not given any warning.
"Nobody knew this was going to happen," she said.
Another resident, Susan D. Calvin, a photographer, said she
found out about the problem when a friend buzzed up from the
Ms. Calvin said, "I'm really upset and I can't believe they
thought they could do this."
After the evacuation, an emergency building permit was issued
by the mayor's office to replace the stairs.
Twelve families from 20 apartments were evacuated by
midafternoon. They were receiving help from the Red Cross
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