2000-01-08 / Front Page


Christmas Tree 'Lights Up'

By John McLoughlin

Smoke consumed the fourth floor of a Far Rockaway highrise on Thursday morning, January 6, when a Christmas tree discarded in the hallway was torched and burst into flames.

Tenants of 125 Beach 17 street woke to the voices of firefighters telling them to keep their doors shut. According to a Fire Department spokesperson, the fire was reported at 7:06 a.m. and was under control by 7:44 a.m. Besides a smoky smell that lingered throughout the building, doors and walls of the fourth floor were burnt and covered with soot and cable wires were exposed.

Even though the fire was swiftly resolved, tenants were still shaken. It was only in May that tenants of the highrise experienced another fire. During that incident, a fire started in one of the three elevators. Tenants sought safety on their terraces, some trapped for more than two hours.

At that time, Bob Vaccarello of RY Management Company said he was positive the elevator fire was arson. Tenants believe that the most recent incident with the Christmas tree was also an act of arson, saying that the management company's "lackadaisical" screening of new tenants has added to increased problems throughout the building.

The fire has tenants concerned about the future of the building, with one longtime resident saying, "What next, God-forbid?".

The Wave did not receive a call back from management as of press time Thursday.



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