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Your Building May Be a Time Bomb

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Although the cause of the fire that destroyed 30 Richardson Street in Williamsburg (the site of New York City’s latest deadly explosion) is still under investigation, a witness at the scene overheard a firefighter telling area residents that – rather than a gas line, as previously suspected – the blaze may have stemmed from a faulty wire in the four-story, wood-frame building’s basement.

“With the buildings like these around here, and the landlords, who needs ISIS?” quipped a neighbor, referring to the organization responsible for terrorist attacks across the world and the buildings in Spanish Harlem, the East Village, and other neighborhoods that have exploded in recent years.

“Seriously,” said another, waving a hand at the row of buildings just steps from McCarren Park, “These buildings here – and over in Manhattan, wherever – they’re all time bombs.”

The fire, which blazed from just before 2 AM until nearly 5 Monday morning, December 28, killed two people and left dozens without a home.

Elliot Sperber is a writer, attorney, and adjunct professor. He lives in New York City and can be reached at elliot.sperber@gmail.com and on twitter @elliot_sperber

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