Dozens of migrants found living in small retail space in the Bronx

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, February 29, 2024
Migrants found living in illegal shelter in the Bronx
Jim Dolan has the story.

FORDHAM, The Bronx (WABC) -- Just one day after dozens of migrants were discovered living in the basement of a Queens furniture store, a similar discovery was made Wednesday at another furniture store in the Bronx.

Dozens of migrants from West Africa paid $2,400 deposits and $300 a month to stay in a tiny retail space on East Kingsbridge Road that had been illegally converted into sleeping quarters.

There were 45 beds in the small, poorly ventilated space -- 34 beds on the first floor and 11 beds in the cellar, all tightly packed together -- and police say they were charging electric bikes and scooters inside.

Inspectors also found extension cords, space heaters, and hotplates throughout both floors in the building.

"The place is not good because the bathroom is outside," said one man who lived in the location. "Conditions are not good."

The men paid rent but had no idea they could be kicked out because the location was being used illegally.

As a result, the city's Department of Buildings issued a Vacate Order for the store due to the hazardous life-threatening conditions, lack of natural light and ventilation, and overcrowding.

The owner of the space, Ebou Sarr, also owns the location in Queens that was raided Tuesday.

"The guys were sleeping on the street for days," said Sarr to Eyewitness News during Tuesday's raid in Queens. "I started helping them."

In that space, there were 40 beds and 74 men with two bathrooms.

Some of the men kicked out of the Bronx location stood on the streets Wednesday night, unsure of what they would do next while others boarded a bus that would take them to a legal shelter.

The owner faces zoning law violations.


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