Tag Archives: Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps

Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps rallies to resolve collapsed building issue


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

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Next year will be Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps’ 50th anniversary, but members don’t’ know if the organization will be around to see it.

The ambulance corps headquarters took damage when building adjoining, 78-19 Jamaica Avenue, collapsed nearly a year ago. Recently members were forced to vacate after melted snow from the collapsed building caused water to flood into the volunteer group’s structure. Now the ambulance corps has damaged walls and mold, members said, and the volunteer organization has to wait for an inspection before they can use the building again.

Members of the ambulance corps and supporters rallied in front the ambulance corps building Sunday to ask the city to speed up repairs on the crumbling building.

“It’s very frustrating, sad and makes me upset,” said John Bennett, a member of the board of the ambulance corps, who has been with the organization for more than three decades. “It feels like I’m losing someone very close.”

The ambulance corps recently filed a lawsuit against the collapsed building’s owner to the tune of $13 million in damages and lost rent. However, it’s another slow process they have to deal with while the building continues to suffer.

The Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Senior Center rented space from the volunteer ambulance group, but had to move to a temporary location—American Legion Post 118—after the structure was determined unsafe by the city’s Buildings Department. The ambulance corps has lost its revenue source, and seniors want to move back into the volunteer groups’ building for its centralized location to transportation, wide space and other features.

“I miss the senior center because in the temporary location I can’t even use the bathroom,” Patricia Sexton said. “It’s not handicapped accessible.”

The owner of the collapsed building, George Kochabe, recently paid $3,200 in fines owed to the  Department of Buildings and hired an architect, according to the agency. However, the building still has many open violations and Kochabe owes thousands more in fines. He could not be reached for comment.

Assemblymember Mike Miller and State Senator Joseph Addabbo are pushing to have the city tear down the building, rebuild it and bill Kochabe. They not only fear for the survival of the volunteer ambulance corps and the senior center, but also worry about the threat the crumbling building creates for pedestrians.

“We don’t want to find out how much more this building could take,” Addabbo said. “We don’t want to react to a bad situation or a tragedy.”

 

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Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Ambulance Corps to rally against owners of collapsed building


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre 

 

For the time being the Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps can no longer use its own building.

Recently, melted snow from the collapsed building adjacent to the ambulance corps headquarters caused water to flood into the volunteer group, which is located at 78-15 Jamaica Ave., forcing them to vacate the building.

“I heard cracking wood,” said Kathy Sexton Dalbey, president of the ambulance corps. “I left and called the Fire Department. The Fire Department said not to go back in.”

The group is not allowed in the building until inspection, Dalbey said.

The volunteer ambulance corp is planning to hold a rally in front the collapsed building on Sunday, March 2, hoping that city agencies can secure the site.

The deteriorating building on 78-19 Jamaica Ave., which was an abandoned furniture store, crumbled on April 12 last year, leaving a hole in the roof and damaging the adjoining ambulance corps structure.

The ambulance corps and politicians, Assemblymember Mike Miller said State Senator Joseph Addabbo,  pushed to have the owner, George Kochabe, repair the building, however he didn’t.

The ambulance corps recently filed a lawsuit against the collapsed building’s owner, George Kochabe, to the tune of $13 million in damages and lost rent.

The Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Senior Center rented space from the volunteer ambulance group, but had to move to a temporary location—American Legion Post 118—after the structure was determined unsafe by the city’s Buildings Department.

Kochabe recently paid off $3,200 in fines owed to the city Department of Buildings and hired an architect, according to the agency. However, the building still has many open violations and Kochabe owes thousands in fines.

“It is shameful that this problem has stretched on for as long as it has. It’s time for the city to resolve this once and for all,” Martin Colberg, president of the Woodhaven Resident’s Block Association said in a release. “Not only does the current situation put us all at risk—every pedestrian who passes by, every car that drives by—but it might also kill the ambulance corps, which would be a terribly unfair outcome. The city must take action now.”

 

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Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Ambulance Corp slaps neighbor with $13M lawsuit


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Twitter / @FDNY

The Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corp recently filed a lawsuit against the collapsed building next door’s owners to the tune of $13 million in damages and lost rent.

Owned by 78-19 Jamaica Avenue LLC, the deteriorating building, which was an abandoned furniture store, crumbled on April 12 last year, leaving a hole in the roof and damaging the adjoining ambulance corp structure.

“That building next door, because of the negligence of that corporation and others, is a danger to society,” said Angelo A. DiGiangi, general counsel of Community Advocacy Center, which is representing the volunteer ambulance organization pro bono in collaboration with CUNY Law School. “The building looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. If this building continues the way that it is, my client will lose its building.”

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Senior Center rented space from the volunteer ambulance group, but had to move to a temporary location—American Legion Post 118—after the structure was determined unsafe by the city’s Buildings Department.

Nearly a year later, the collapsed building still has a gaping hole and mold, elected officials said.

After much pushing by local politicians, 78-19 Jamaica Avenue LLC recently paid off $3,200 in fines it owed to the Department of Buildings and hired an architect, according to the agency. However, the building still has eight open ECB violations and a total of $33,000 in fines, $20,000 due in Department of Buildings civil penalties for work without a permit and $7,500 due in  civil penalties for failure to correct hazardous violations, according to the Buildings Department.

“It’s disgusting that it took so long to get to this point,” Assemblymember Mike Miller said. “Seniors have been suffering and they want to be back in the ambulance corp. This is their home.”

The owner of the property could not be reached for comment.

Despite the recent positive movement, elected officials are still unsure of when the owner will actually repair the building.

“I need for work to be done on the building. That would be positive. Paying the fines does nothing for seniors or the Woodhaven – Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corp,” State Senator Joseph Addabbo said. “With that gaping hole in the roof, with the snow and ice, that building is only going to get worse.”

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Clear in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 72. Winds from the NW at 5 to 15 mph. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 48. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: We Are What We Are

Actor Bill Sage and director Jim Mickle will participate in a discussion and preview screening of We Are What We Are, a reimagining of a Mexican movie about a reclusive family that practices violent, secret rituals. Museum of the Moving Image at 7 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

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