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Victims of Ozone Park 5-alarm fire could be out of their homes for three to six more months

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

Residents of an Ozone Park apartment building watched their homes damaged by flames just a week before Christmas. And now it looks like they won’t be returning home for months to come.

It may take up to three to six months for the building at 103-45 97th St. to be made livable again as the owner and architect are working around the clock to get it fixed as soon as possible, according to a representative from Councilman Eric Ulrich’s office.

The owner has just about finished cleaning debris from the fire- and water-damaged building and is now in the process of working with city agencies to move plans for repairs forward.

The architect who took over the project will be sending plans to the Department of Buildings as early as this week in a bid to get city approval to patch up the roof and seal the windows, making the building “water tight” and livable again, the representative said.

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Once all the construction is finished, that will conclude the first phase of the recovery process. After it is finished, the process will move much faster and residents will be able to get back into their homes.

The representative said that at this point there has been no problem with communication between the owner of the building and the city, and that the city has been very receptive to this case.

The fire started around 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 18. The attic and fourth floor sustained most of the fire damage, and the other floors mostly had damage from the torrents of water used to extinguish the five-alarm blaze. It took firefighters two hours to bring the fire under control.

Most of the building’s residents found shelter with families, but some turned to the Red Cross for help. They were given a free place to stay over that weekend, and if they still couldn’t find a place to live after that, they had to go down to the Red Cross corporate headquarters in Manhattan to be put on a list for temporary housing until they can return to the building.

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