Dozens sickened at Long Island building with illegal heating units: Police

HEMPSTEAD, Long Island (WABC) -- Officials announced the emergency evacuation of an apartment building on Long Island with spiked levels of carbon monoxide.

Nassau County police say more than a dozen illegal heating units were discovered in the building on Fulton Avenue in Hempstead.

Dozens were sickened, and when authorities arrived, they said some people were already unconscious -- including a woman and her 2-year-old child.

The CO levels were found to be as high as 140 parts per million, at least seven times the normal amount.

"Had this happened at 2 o'clock in the morning, it would've been a disaster," Hempstead Emergency Management Chief George Sanders said.

Officials said nine people were transported to area hospitals, while 28 were treated at the scene.

They say the health and safety of nearly 100 residents was in jeopardy, and now, they are without shelter, heat, and hot water because of the evacuation.

According to authorities, the landlord was taking advantage of people desperate for housing who were usually too afraid to report hazardous conditions and had illegal gas heating units installed in every apartment without permits for plumbing and hookups.

"The landlord was taking advantage of a population of people that were afraid to report these types of violations," Hempstead Trustee for Emergency Services Waylyn Hobbs

They also said residents were forced to pay extra for heating, so many of them tried not to use it.

"And then once he did the conversion, that gas bill was then placed on the tenant," Nassau County Legislator Siela Bynoe said.

Village code requires building inspections every three years but not individual apartments.

That landlord is expected to face many violations.

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