Rockland turns up 100-plus violations after Spring Valley apartment fire

Photo: Peter Carr/The Journal News

“Living rooms and dining rooms converted into bedrooms. Exposed wires. Faulty smoke alarms. Those are just a few of the 100-plus hazardous conditions Rockland County’s Office of Buildings and Codes cited with violations at a village apartment complex where a fire displaced two dozen families.

During the March 9 fire at 101 Kennedy Drive, a firefighter rescued a 2-year-old by carrying the toddler down seven flights of stairs through heavy smoke. Police and firefighters evacuated dozens of people from the building. Four were taken to the hospital with possible smoke inhalation.  The cause of the fire at the complex, owned by Country Village Towers Corp., remains under investigation.

On Friday, the building management denied reporters entry to the complex.

County officials pointed to the slew of hazardous conditions as reinforcement of the state’s decision to enlist the county in enforcing safety regulations and catching up on a backlog of inspections for apartment complexes, housing, businesses, schools and other buildings.

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Rockland took over inspections and enforcement of state fire and building codes on Feb. 14 on orders from the New York State Department of State. The unusual move came after the state had a monitor watching over the village for years and in the wake of March 2021 fire that destroyed Evergreen Court Adult Home and killed a volunteer firefighter and resident.

The county has already reported several sites where inspections turned up multiple violations. “One thing is certain following this current investigation,” said Office of Buildings and Codes Director Ed Markunas. “It will take time for my office to correct years, really decades, of mismanagement and negligence by the former Building Department in the Village of Spring Valley.”

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