No injuries were reported after a one-alarm fire ignited early Wednesday morning inside the homeless shelter at the former Pan American Hotel in Elmhurst, fire department sources said.
The blaze started at about 1:54 a.m. on the third floor of the seven-story structure at 79-00 Queens Blvd. Firefighters responded to the scene and quickly extinguished the flames.
Coincidentally, the fire happened on the deadline date that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Office of Temporary and Permanent Assistance set last week for the city Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to remediate violations at the Pan American and other homeless shelters in operation across the city.
As reported last week, community residents reported seeing rats looking for food in a trash pile outside the shelter. A NY Daily News investigation also revealed that many of the units — some of which house as many as five people at a time — are infested with cockroaches.
The Courier reached out to DHS regarding this morning’s fire and efforts to clean up the reported violations, and is awaiting a response from the agency.