Hillcrest house owner faces 11 violations in Ramapo Justice Court

HILLCREST – Up to two dozen people living in an illegal boarding house were fortunate to have survived the fire that severely damaged the overcrowded building, the county fire coordinator said Thursday. 

Fire Coordinator Chris Kear said if the “fire happened in the middle of the night you could have had fatalities.”

The Tuesday fire erupted in the second-floor bedroom of a 48 W. Hickory St. house. Kear said a teenager sleeping in the attic space could have become trapped in the alcove-sized space with only one way out. 

“To have someone sleeping in the alcove is dangerous,” Kear said, pointing to the burned-out area from the side lawn. “If he had been sleeping he wouldn’t have gotten out. There’s no way out.”

Ramapo: Fire at illegal rooming house leaves tenants homeless, owner hit with violations.

Violations: Ramapo building inspector cites violations at 48 W. Hickory.

Fortunately, the teenager had gotten up and moved to another area of the house to get better WiFi.

Kear said investigators determined the residence had been converted into four bedrooms in the unfinished basement, four bedrooms on the first floor, and the small living space in the alcove. The house had three legal rooms on the second floor.


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