Volume 18 • Issue 25 | November 4 - 10, 2005

Chinatown building evacuated because of carbon monoxide

By Daniel Wallace

The apartment building at 20 Mulberry St. was evacuated at 1:45 a.m. Wednesday morning due to an incident of carbon monoxide exposure resulting from a faulty water heater in the building’s basement.

According to Captain William Matusiak of the 5th precinct, 11 people were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning at the scene and two were taken to New York Downtown Hospital. There are no reports of serious injuries. At 3:40 a.m. residents re-entered the building and went back to bed.

It was business as usual later in the day. A pedestrian wearing a New York City Sanitation jacket walked passed the building in the afternoon and jokingly yelled into the narrow entrance: “you’ll die in there.”

Not many residents were home and two Chinese tenants leaving the building did not speak English.

Standing nearby, a woman who lives in an adjacent apartment complex shook her head.

“I hadn’t heard about it until now,” said the woman, who wished to remain anonymous. “But it doesn’t surprise me. Our building just recently installed carbon monoxide detectors. And I’m glad, because I have kids. But we still don’t have fire escapes.”

City law now requires most buildings to install carbon monoxide detectors.

The building at 20 Mulberry St. is a narrow, three-story brick structure sandwiched between the Cheung Sang Funeral Home and the True Light Lutheran Church at the corner of Mulberry and Worth Sts. Inside the entrance, a Building Services Registration, issued by the State of New York Division of Housing and Community Renewal, is stapled to a board on the wall.

On the registration card, Richard Chin with Jamay Realty Corp. is listed as the Building’s managing agent. But the number printed beside his name is out of service.


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