Another garbage fire sparks in basement of White Plains apartment

(09/07/03) WHITE PLAINS - There are renewed fire concerns for more than 1,000 residents at the White Plains housing complex at 225 Martin Luther King Blvd. Sunday morning, tenants were awakened by the smell of smoke.

For more than two months, city firefighters have been responding to garbage fires that many residents believe are being intentionally set. These residents feel their lives are in danger.

Deputy Fire Chief Vinnie Roberto has responded to several fires at the housing complex in the last couple of months. Back in July, the trash compactor inside the building caught fire twice in one day. An investigation revealed that someone threw a lit cigarette into the trash compactor. Deputy Chief Roberto says this time, the fire started in the basement where the residents now place their garbage. Fire investigators are looking into whether Sunday morning's fire was intentional.

Even though the building has smoke detectors and sprinkler systems in place, there is no fire escape. There is only one way out for these residents. Fire officials say the tenants should keep their eyes out for any suspicious activity.

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