Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Eatery fire opens can of worms

City inspectors yesterday shut down an eight-story Chinatown building after a fire in a first-floor restaurant exposed illegal bedrooms, shoddy electrical wiring and a possible gambling operation, officials said.

A condemnation hearing for 17-23 Beach St. was set for Thursday after inspectors found one floor where 21 beds were set up and another where six illegal bedrooms had been erected, said housing inspector Julia Scott.

The apparent illegal rooming house was exposed after a fire erupted in the heating and air conditioning unit for Pho Hoa, a Vietnamese restaurant located on the first floor, said Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald.
MacDonald estimated the blaze caused $100,000 in damage.

Residents were allowed back into the building to fetch their belongings. No one was injured in the fire.

City inspectors found cards and tables set up for gambling on two floors. However, the Boston Police Department said it had not receive any reports about illegal gambling at the site.

On one of the floors, inspectors found cracked ceiling beams, and on another floor the ceilings were crumbling and the floor had buckled, Scott said.

A smoke detector covered with a plastic bag was found on of the floors used as a studio for dance or martial arts.

Lan Dinh of Newton, who owns a stake in the property, did not return a call seeking comment. A man connected with the building at the scene declined comment.

The fire was the second in the neighborhood in recent weeks. Last month, 12 people were rescued from an early-morning fire at a six-story apartment building at 49 Beach St.

Man there is one of these over on Dot ave right past Fields corner. I bet its  the same thing…417 people  living in a flop house!!


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