By Ryan Broderick, Editor-in-Chief
An electrical fire in the basement of 248 Lenox Ave. in Uniondale brought fire trucks, an ambulance and the University's Public Safety to the residence on Wednesday morning. Nassau County Fire Department reported that there were ten University students occupying the house at the time of the incident.
The cause of the fire, according to Fire Inspector Vincent McManus, came from the power cord of a TV kept in the basement of the house.
"It was a regular two-story [house] with multiple people living in it. We have as best we know an accidental fire," McManus said.
When firefighters arrived at the house the Town Of Hempstead issued a violation for occupancy. "The Town Of Hempstead issued violations for 11 different rooms with 10 people living there," McManus said.
The University provided support for the students, giving them temporary residence on campus. Director of Public Safety John O'Malley said that the safety of the students was the number one concern of The University.
"We went down to make sure they were alright, offered them anything they needed, like emergency housing," O'Malley said.
On Wednesday night, the Office of Off-Campus Living and Student Commuting Services held an event in The Cross-Cultural Theater for off-campus students about reading how to read a lease. At the event, residents 248 Lenox Ave. attended and asked questions.
Junior University student Michelle Golden asked event speaker Steve Richmond about the details in the lease for 248 Lenox Ave. "If your contract has more people than allowed in Long Island occupancy—which is no more than 6 unrelated people living in a house—does that make your contract null and void because it has too many people on the lease," Golden asked.
Richmond explained that there is no such thing as an illegal contract. "If there are code violations and occupancy, it is a violation," Richmond said.
When asked for comment, an unidentified man inside the residence declined, refusing to answer questions from Chronicle staff.
According to propertyshark.com, a database that aggregates public real estate data, the landlord of 248 Lenox Ave. is Ronsard Mazile, president of the Fairview Boulevard Block Association. Also according to the site, Mazile currently owns a property on Fenimore Place in Uniondale, and recently sold two properties, one on Yale Street and one on Fairview Boulevard, both in Uniondale.
Golden's mother asked Richmond about the best way for tenants to protect themselves from landlords that might write leases with existing violations.
"I don't know if anybody is aware in this room, but there are a lot of young ladies here, this is my daughter, they were living in a house, they were all in the street, if you want to call it that, and the landlord had 11 children living in this house, code violations left and right, a fire in the wall, disaster, his fault, did not make corrections to the issues."
Richmond suggested taking an uncooperative landlord to small claims court.