Firefighting, Hazmat

Two Dead from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Illegal Brooklyn (NY) Apartment

Fire Department of New York (FDNY)

According to a report from ABC7, two people died and four others were injured after a carbon monoxide incident in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, at around 8 p.m. Monday night.

Authorities responded to the scene at 170 Ave O for reports of cardiac arrest, which was actually determined to be carbon monoxide-related. The call was upgraded to a hazardous material incident; of the six patients needing assistance, two were pronounced dead on the scene.

Fire officials said the lives could have been saved had there been carbon monoxide detectors in the building.

The deceased victims, 50-year-old Juan Tzunun and 49-year-old Jacinto Vasquez, were found in a basement apartment. Both had been living in the basement for years. It appears that the person who called 911, the building’s owner, is a relative of Tzunun.

The other four victims were all treated at the scene but refused hospitalization.

Department of Buildings investigators discovered that the boiler chimney was blocked with debris and evidence of gas backup in the boiler flue. The investigation also determined that the building had added illegal single-tenant occupancies, including one in the cellar and three on the upper floors.

According to officials, there was also illegal, unpermitted electrical wiring in the building, and tenants did not have adequate egress in the event of an emergency.

A Cease Use Order has been issued for the boiler and water heater in the building. Violations were issued to the building owner for illegal work without a permit, failure to provide occupants with appropriate egress, and for the illegally converted single room occupancy units in the building.

In addition, a Full Vacate Order was issued for the entire building. Additional enforcement actions are pending.

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