Boston city inspectors found more than 40 code violations at 25 dwellings in an Allston neighborhood where a three-alarm fire last month left a student in serious condition and sent others to the hospital, and they are continuing to find more.
Code inspectors have been out in force the past week canvasing rental units on Gardner, Pratt, Linden, and Ashford Streets in Allston, an area heavily populated with students, to perform inspections and offer advice to its young residents.
“There were a number of situations where people weren’t living in code compliant housing, so we’re going around trying to help particularly younger people understand that they have rights as tenants,” Bryan Glascock, acting commissioner of the city’s Inspectional Services Department, said after crews inspected apartments next door and across the street from the now condemn building at 84 Linden St where the fire occurred.
During the sweep of the buildings this week, the city’s Inspectional Services Department found smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that didn’t work; faulty heating systems; rodent infestations; blocked exits; overcrowded apartments; and illegal apartments in attics and basements. In some cases, no smoke or carbon monoxide detectors were in use.
“Boston is home to thousands of students, and they all deserve a safe place to live,” Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino said in a statement. “We will not allow landlords to take advantage of students by neglecting their properties and putting people at risk.”
Lauren Marias, a senior at Boston University, asked the city inspect her apartment at 81A Linden St. after she saw her neighbors hurt in the fire. Her apartment and building received a total of 12 violations and one fine, but was deemed safe and in relatively good shape.
Marias and her roommates also learned things they can do to keep safe, such as removing their air conditioners from their bedroom windows so they could escape in case of a fire.
“I’m more aware of having a way out if anything did happen,” Marias said.
The city plans to continue to inspect buildings in the neighborhood and hand out brochures informing students that they have the right and responsibility as tenants to ask the landlord to maintain the building, and contact the city if they have problems.
"We also want to hold landlonds responsible for keeping their buildings safe for people who are living there," Glascock said.
On January 22, a BU student leapt from a window after a three story house at 84 Linden St. was engulfed with flames.
The student, Josh Goldenberg, 19, flung himself out of his third-story bedroom window onto the driveway of his burning Allston apartment that he shared with several of his BU fraternity brothers.
The sophomore, who was in a coma for about 10 days with several broken bones and a traumatic brain injury, is now an in-patient at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. He spends three to four hours a day re-learning basic functions, said his father, David Goldenberg. He’s talking, but is in the process of re-learning how to eat and is suffering from some short-term memory loss.
“It’s just another step, it’s just another function that starts to work,” said David, who lives in Danbury, Conn.
David said Josh is expected to be able to go home in April and his family hopeful he will be able to return to school in the fall. “He’s extremely healthy. He’s motivated. We think he’s going to be fine,” he said.