Victims of Chinatown Fire to Return Home

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Almost two years after the fire that left the residents at 289 Grand Street in Chinatown displaced from their homes, a court ruling has finally granted tenants permission to return to their building by March of next year. Today, Judge Timmie Elsner ordered the landlord of the building to fully renovate the apartments by March 1, 2013.

In a statement, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver celebrated the victory for the displaced Chinatown residents. "From the moment this tragic fire struck almost two years ago, we have been fighting tirelessly for the right of the tenants who were displaced from 289 Grand Street to return to their homes. They have suffered enormously and they have waited long enough," said Speaker Silver.

(Photo courtesy of Civic Center Residents Coalition NYC. More photos can be seen here

In April 2010, the blaze started by the complex's landlord, took the life of an 87-year-old man, injured 33 people, and displaced an additional 200 residents. The landlords later explained that the building was in desperate need of repair, and that it was impossible for the building to generate the amount of money needed for those efforts. While evidence they provided did substantiate those claims, Judge Timmie E. Elsner ultimately ordered the landlord to completely restore all of the building's apartments.

Speaker Silver concluded, "Today is a great victory for them [the disposed tenants of 289 Grand St.] and for everyone who has consistently fought for the protection and preservation of affordable housing here in Chinatown and throughout our city."

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