CO sends 5 NY tenants to hospital despite warning to landlord
By Jennifer Malone
Newsday (New York)
ISLIP, NY — Dangerous levels of carbon monoxide from a faulty furnace sent five Brentwood tenants to the hospital Monday — almost a year after the building's landlord was issued a warning for a similar incident.
That warning, issued in January, was never followed up. Islip officials said a town fire marshal should have returned after 10 days to check on the furnace and issue a summons if it was not fixed.
The Town of Islip issued the warning to Soud Choudhury of Jamaica, owner of the home at 27 Bergen St., Brentwood, after inspectors were summoned Jan. 24 by the East Brentwood Fire Department, said Gregory Clifton, Islip's chief investigator. On that day, as on Monday, a faulty burner in the home's oil furnace caused dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide.
None of the home's seven residents were hospitalized in the January incident, Clifton said.
"The fire marshal was new to the job and failed to follow up after the 10 days," Islip spokeswoman Amy Basta said. "He made a mistake. ... We know we could have done better. We're relieved that there were no fatalities."
Basta said the town attorney would investigate the issue before town officials decide whether to discipline the fire marshal.
In addition to a written warning about the furnace, the town issued five summonses the same day for illegal apartments in the garage and basement, Clifton said. The single-family home had been converted into three apartments, he said.
On Oct. 8, Choudhury was found guilty on the summonses in Fifth District Court in Ronkonkoma, Clifton said and was fined $500 and forced to sign a statement pledging to return the house to a single-family dwelling by Feb. 9, 2009.
In response to this week's incident, a town inspector yesterday issued new summonses on the still-present illegal apartments and a summons for the faulty furnace, Clifton said.
In a phone interview yesterday, Hosne Choudhury said her husband had fixed the furnace and installed carbon monoxide detectors, but that a disgruntled tenant she would identify only by first name had sabotaged his efforts.
Choudhury said her husband can't bring the house up to code until the tenant leaves.
Copyright 2008 Newsday, Inc.