Firemen take Hour to get to Fire a Block Away from Fire Station
A former tenant in the rooming house at 90 Alexander St. above the Incendio restaurant, has questions about the fire at 5 a.m. on Jan. 6 that left all tenants evicted. It took the fire department “about an hour to arrive” – even though there is a fire station just a block away at Main & Powell.
Several tenants would like to move back into the rooming house. They've been told that it will be six months before renovations are finished, but they doubt they will ever be allowed to move back in. The fire was allowed to burn long enough that the offshore landlord may be in a position to circumvent laws that curb the practice of evicting lower income tenants, doing renovations -- workmen were there yesterday doing renovations -- and then jacking up the rents. “If there is structural damage and the floors are burned,” says the former tenant, “they can say, “It’s not safe, you have to move out.” Indeed, all tenants were told to move, even though only the suites immediately above the restaurant stove, where the fire is believed to have started, were damaged.
There are questions not only about whether the offshore landlord had something to gain from this fire, but whether the operators of Incendio would have had something to gain. "That business wasn't doing very well," a tenant alleges, pointing out that they will now get fire insurance. And there are questions about whether the fire department was called right away.
At this point, there is no evidence of wrongdoing against anybody. It's just that evicted tenants can start thinking along the same lines as fire insurance investigators: “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”
Full story at Downtown Eastside Enquirer