Safety violations force evacuation

October 3, 2008 2:56:19 PM PDT
Structural problems have displaced dozens of residents from a building in Queens. There are a total of 60 people being evacuated from 8-29 Astoria Boulevard in Astoria due to structural life safety violations.

The Department of Buildings has issued a full vacate of the building for numerous violations. Officials say the apartments are all illegal, with illegal gas and electrical hookups, no sprinkler systems or fire safety equipment and no emergency exits.

Residents also say that the landlord visited each of them, asking that they pay their rent in cash by October 1. Then, two days later, they are out on the street.

The families reportedly paid between $900 and $1,300 a month for apartments in the building, which is zoned solely for commercial use. Thirteen children are among those now homeless.

Con Ed has shut down the gas to the building and DEP turned off the water service.

The MTA is on the scene with one bus and will shelter and/or transport anyone involved.

The American Red Cross will be opening a reception center at the Astoria Community Center located at a nearby NYCHA facility.

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