MNEWS: Revisiting Deadly DeKalb Fire

Breaking Bronx
Journalists Revisit Deadly DeKalb Fire, Reignite Housing Discussion
April 24, 2012 at 2:15 PM
By Jeanmarie Evelly

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A decade after an electrical fire at 3569 DeKalb Ave. claimed the life of an 8-year-old Bronx boy, journalists and housing activists are still trying to find answers to the questions posed in the wake of his death–namely, how the city should enforce housing code violations and hold landlords accountable for conditions that put tenants at risk.

That was the topic of a panel discussion held at Manhattan College last night, organized by the school’s Urban Affairs department, City Limits magazine and Jordan Moss, a former Norwood News editor. The event arose from an investigation into landlord practices and regulations that was published in City Limits last month, a series of stories written by Moss, journalist Tom Robbins and a team of students at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism which focused on wealthy real estate operative Frank Palazzolo, who has been tied to dozens of dilapidated Bronx buildings over the years–including 3569 DeKalb Ave., where young Jashawn Parker was killed in 2002.

Moss covered the fire for the Norwood News at the time (to read some of that original coverage, see here and here) and was shocked that no one was ever held accountable for the blaze, despite the fact that the building had hundreds of housing code violations. When the Norwood News began looking at other buildings linked to Palazzolo at the time, it found about a hundred Bronx properties with some 19,000 violations among them. In another of his buildings, a 7-year-old boy suffered brain damage from lead paint.

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[JR: MC acting as the “lens” for improvement.]

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