Hudson View Fire Victim:'I'm not Going to Quit'

Residents from Hudson View Estates continue to question Peekskill officials about the apartment building fire and water main breaks that took place last month.

Nearly three weeks after a fire and a multiple water main breaks caused major disruptions along Lakeview Drive and Pemart Aveue, residents continued to search for answers during Monday’s Peekskill Common Council meeting.

 “I’m not going to quit until you guys help me,” said Alonzo Thompson, one of the people who lost their homes during the March 21 apartment building fire in Hudson View Estates complex. “I’m not. The city, somebody has got to help me for losing everything that we worked hard for.”

The fire displaced 14 families, according to officials from the American Red Cross. While many have been able to find new homes, others are still struggling to get back on their feet.

During the fire, a secondary water main broke in the area of Highland Avenue and Garfield Street while firefighters tried to draw water from a nearby hydrant.

Some residents maintain that main break caused firefighters to lose water during the fire. Mayor Mary Foster and fire Chief Robert Fiorio have said that the break caused a decrease in water pressure, but did not result in a complete loss of water.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Foster said the city is waiting for the findings of Westchester County fire investigators, along with information from the neighboring fire departments who assisted Peekskill. Once that information is submitted, Foster said she planned to create on comprehensive report on the incident.

Foster said it could take months before county fire investigators file their report.

But the fire isn’t the only thing residents seek answers to. City officials had to deal with at least three other water main breaks in the days following the fire.

Residents of Lakeview Drive, Pemart Avenue and other nearby roads were given boil water advisories by the Westchester County Department of Health until the situation was corrected.

 Foster said officials were still investigating the cause of the water system failure.

“We have asked for our fire department and our city engineer to provide back to the city Council a comprehensive report of what the service is to all of the high points in the city, how many continuous loops of water pipes versus dead end pipes that we have, where they think the vulnerabilities are for firefighting and what the recommendations are for us to address them.”

Foster also said that Deputy Mayor Drew Claxton has reached out to U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey, D-Harrison, for possible grants to help with water infrastructure and that the Council has reached out to state officials for possible grants.

Councilwoman Marybeth McGowan said the Council also wanted to look into the ways it communicates with residents during emergencies.

Jesus Encarnacion, a resident of Hudson View Estates who was affected by the disruption in water service, said he is disappointed by the Council’s response during the ordeal.

“Here you all are, as paid sworn officials of the city, and all you do is stare at people like their stupid…you make a lot of false statements to the news media, you lie to the people of this city,” Encarnacion said.

Thompson said his wife and three children are still seeking assistance in the aftermath of the fire. The Department of Social Services told him that he wasn’t eligible for food stamps because his family had too much money saved.

Thompson was also told that he isn’t eligible for Section 8.

“I’m not going to go empty my bank account because the fire department was fighting the fire with one hose,” Thompson said. “I don’t think that’s fair to me or my family or anyone else who was living up there.”

Foster said the city didn’t have a food stamps program, but has done other things to assist residents.

“Our Section 8 office did reach out to HUD to see if there was any way of getting emergency vouchers for people so they could get into apartments,” Foster said. “The senior citizens have been relocated to Peekskill Plaza. I know at least two have been relocated and so to the extent that there are things can be done, they have been done. Some of the tenants had renter’s insurance, some do not. And so everybody’s circumstances change in terms of how they recover.”

Leesther Brown, a Peekskill resident, still believes the city can do more to help remaining fire victims who haven’t found homes back on their feet.

“I don’t think these people are asking you to dig in your pocket and give them anything,” Brown said.

leesther brown April 09, 2013 at 01:44 PM
Good for you Alonzo...and stay away from that "Chameleon" Davis,he will invite you on his radio show claiming to be your advocate,but instead he's exploiting..."Be careful who you trust, the devil was once an angel."...#don'tletthedevilride...
jo April 09, 2013 at 02:21 PM
THE DEVIL WAS ONCE AN Angel... well said... never thought of that.. :)
Wendy Kelly April 09, 2013 at 02:57 PM
Renters insurance in an apartment is a must just like homeowners insurance. Have known many people without over the years and they are basically screwed.
shakemdown April 09, 2013 at 07:53 PM
shakemdown April 09, 2013 at 08:06 PM
sayitsnotsojack April 09, 2013 at 08:11 PM
Water mains break all the time and I would venture to say the water system in Peekskill is very old and will continue to malfunction. That said every effort is needed to see they provide water when needed. Question to ask is what procedures are used to check and fix them and are they being carried out? While anyone can sympathize with the people, who have been displaced to want the city to reimburse them for losses is ridiculous. If one owns a residence you purchase owners insurance which covers fires. If you rent you should buy renters insurance which does the same for renters. If people do not buy the insurance, they have very little excuse, and certainly should not be going to the city looking for other taxpayers to pay for their loss. They made a choice and now they need to live with it. If the city is found negligent for the lack of water then they should sue.
leesther brown April 09, 2013 at 08:50 PM
@sayitain'tso, there were folks that had renters insurance and they getting the run around from their carrier...as far as the City there is two fire hydrants side by side up there,and they are there because the City was well aware of the pressure issues and there was a protocol that should have been followed...it was not...Now like you I don't like the idea that this latest blunder may result in yet another lawsuit,but outside of the origin...the City messed up....
shakemdown April 09, 2013 at 09:49 PM
actually there are three fire hydrants on this street that's only what less than1/4 of a mile long and none of them worked, and to answer the question, YES the mayor and council know about the water problems in the city of peekskill and they refuse to deal with it , now she's trying to act like she's really concern because it is a election year and she's trying to once again fool her supporters but deep down she knows that, that as_ is OUT this year.MARY, some of us were born at night, but we weren't born last night. START PACKING AND DON'T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU ON THE WAY OUT.THERE IS NOTHING WORST THEN A LIAR BUT LYING PUBLIC OFFICIALS IS AS WORST AS IT GETS.
jo April 10, 2013 at 11:06 AM
perhaps the money "ear marked" for the new fire house should be directed towards the water infrastructure of the city noting how old the piping is... makes much more sense to me to have viable water pressure over a Fancy Mansion to House fire trucks.. what good are the trucks and hoses without WATER Duh!!!
shakemdown April 10, 2013 at 07:31 PM
this mayor is hell bent on having this fire house built , i'm not a gambling man , but i'm willing to bet that she is getting a cut out of the deal from the construction company that is building this mansion, it's not hard to tell, cause she is as desperate as a crackhead looking for the next hit. trying to get it built.
joshua tanner April 10, 2013 at 08:36 PM
Fosters Folly? Fosters Firehouse Folly? Fosters Frivolous Firehouse Folly? No matter what you call it the message is always F-U
modernmarvels April 12, 2013 at 10:53 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the mayor also say no one was injured at the fire? It is my understanding that a firefighter suffered a heart attack and that the city is hanging him out to dry denying that it was work related. Guess that's the standard line...deny water problems, deny a hero got injured. Unbelievable how this city has turned out and going. Time to reach out to the firefighters and find out the truth.
modernmarvels April 12, 2013 at 11:00 PM
Also to all those who were affected by this horrible incident, you are in my prayers and keep fighting for the truth, your community is behind you!!
shakemdown April 13, 2013 at 04:09 AM
yes that happened and there are other stuff that they are trying to keep a hush-hush
shakemdown April 13, 2013 at 04:26 AM
thank you for your prayers,but the residents of hudson view need to stand together and stop sitting back like nothing happened, you were without water for 10 days, you got your water bill last week and you are being charged for a whole month of water use. you don't see something wrong with that. management saids that it is not their fault that we didn't have water and told me to take my complaint to the city who was responsible for us not having water . i will be calling city hall monday morning to see what BS answer i get.
leesther brown April 13, 2013 at 12:37 PM
@modernmarvels, it that's so then I hope for a speedy recovery..#Godspeed,but lets not stray from the issue,building burnt to the ground,and the city failed to provide resources and services.......That's It That's All..
leesther brown April 13, 2013 at 12:47 PM
@shakem, if there's more,then spill it!..... the public has a right to know, I can't get with that cover up shit especially if it effects the community...don't wait. I've never heard of an apartment complex charging for water outside of what you'll pay for rent,and Con Ed....that's what the City should look into.....#thatshitsinsane
shakemdown April 13, 2013 at 05:26 PM
they are also trying to say that, the excavator that was tearing down the building did not fall threw the floor at the end were the fire started when in fact it did, and it ruptured a gas line, luckily con-ed had just shut off the gas and electricity about twenty minutes prior to this incident, and by the way,what evidence are they trying to find, because if there was any the excavator destroyed it. they had a excavator tearing down the building before any investigation even began.#icanseethrewthesmoke
shakemdown April 13, 2013 at 05:31 PM
i just wish that i could get someone from the media to come and meet with me so i can tell them what really went on and not what the mayor and her lying posse is putting out. they are all a bunch of liars who need to be thrown out with the garbage.
modernmarvels April 14, 2013 at 02:45 AM
@Leesther...I think it is part of the issue...why are they trying to deny so much? Also I'm sure the stress of the water issue coupled with that firefighter trying to do as much as he could to save peoples property didn't help. This is just another on the long string of the city screwing the people and not doing right by their employees. @shakem...are you kidding me? The property manager still billed for the normal monthly water charge? How can they do that when they get billed by gallon usage?
shakemdown April 14, 2013 at 03:16 AM
i was told by management that even though there was no water, the water meter still runs, i even discussed this with councilman torres when he came up to see me on march 27 2013, because i knew that , that was going to happened and he stated that he would bring it up in the next council meeting which was on april 8 2013 but he didn't even address it. i'm going to trying to get the residents of hudson view to come to the council meeting on the 22nd of april so we can try to get some answers but i already know what they are going to do, they are going to blame the management of this complex.just like the city manager try to say that the valve that broke up at peekskill towers belongs to them, but the maintenance man came out with the blueprints to the water system and proved that the valve belongs to the city.#marymustgo
modernmarvels April 16, 2013 at 09:13 PM
That has to be the stupidest answer I've ever heard. Water meters run when water runs through the system. I can understand if there is a master water meter for the whole complex, but the bill for that should be divided amongst the residents who are using water, not an entire buildings worth of people who by no choice of their own cannot use it. This is just getting ridiculous. Election day cannot come quick enough for me. On a side note, I had a fireman today tell me flat out that one of the paid fireman did in fact have a heart attack and needed a stay in the hospital and that the city is denying that fireman his benefits. Way to go city of peekskill for your residents and your employees. How much is this going to cost in legal fees now in lawsuits from the residents and a fireman who shouldn't have to fight for what he gives. #givethatherohisdue #ifitdontlookrightitaing right.
shakemdown April 17, 2013 at 02:56 AM
i had stated that, that was true, i was there when they put him in the ambulance and took him away,now we are getting the run-around, management saids that they didn't have anything to do with us not having water and the city is blaming hudson view management.i also spoke with the supervisor of the water dept. who told me that the meter should of not been running if there is no water going through it. so i asked why are we being charged for a month of water use when we didn't have water for ten days, his reply was, "you have to take that up with management". called and left a message on the mayors voice mail yesterday 4-15-2013 and still have not heard from her,and i doubt i will.but let her tell it, i never called . #marymustgo
leesther brown April 17, 2013 at 01:24 PM
I gotta ask!..where was news12 when this fireman had the heart attack,and what is his name?!!..News12 was up there,they didn't report it,and they covered it(fire) for most of the day...If true then it is indeed shameful that the city is denying his benefits. I can't understand why we the public are now just hearing of this,the fire chief was up at the podium giving his reason,or not for the building burning to the ground at the meeting and he never mentioned it....#imjustsayin' .
shakemdown April 18, 2013 at 01:09 AM
it's a damn shame that the mayor of this city thinks that everyone is stupid, she keeps denying things that actually happened,and has no problem doing it, there should be a law in this city and everywhere else, that if a sworn public officials don't do their job and answer to the people who voted them in , then the people can have a no confidence vote and vote them OUT. that would make these liars stop what they are doing.
peekskillman April 18, 2013 at 06:55 PM
the only way to find out the truth of just what happened, when where and how is to subpoena all those who were at the fire, and make them tell what they know under oath. See if the double speak from City Hall will stop them then. Talk to the firemen as I did, and you will find out things like they DID lose water totally for a while, that one of the fire trucks didnt go to the proper hydrant, that the "protocol" for that area did not include Hudson View, but was meant for Peekskill Towers. You'll also find that the fire chief who spoke at the council meeting was NOT there for the whole fire, but got there after the building was falling down, and that he is relying on information from others to make his report. I cant imagine what all these families are going thru, my thoughts are with all of them. Hopefully they can band together and the truth will come out.
Teleman April 18, 2013 at 07:27 PM
I certainly understand and sympathize with those who lost everything in the fire. I think it would be prudent to wait for the issuance of the fire investigators report from the county. There seems to be a lot of focus on those who responded to put out the fire, but very little on who or what started it. I know that area well and was in the vicinity that day, and there was quite a bit of wind- that alone coupled with the vents and construction of that roof presented a very difficult situation. And i am not from the peekskill fd or affiliated with any politician- just my observations
shakemdown April 19, 2013 at 12:32 AM
i too was up there, in fact i'm a resident at hudson view and to be honest, the firefighters had the fire under control until they the lost of water,and the wind wasn't even a facture in this case,and by the way, how do you know that someone started the fire.
shakemdown April 19, 2013 at 12:42 AM
peekskillman: you are right, they should be subpoena, but the problem with that is that they will all plea the 5th and walk away laughing because the city will have to foot the bill. they need to be held accountable for the lying ,stealing and wasting the 10 million dollars that were in the budget when she started, and she can't explain where it went or what happed to it.
shakemdown April 19, 2013 at 01:08 AM
the firefighters had the fire under control until the lost of water, and the wind was not even a factor


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