Yonkers residents displaced by March apartment fire say they're still unable to retrieve their belongings

It has been almost four months and families are still fighting to get their items back from that apartment building. Now the property company has come up with a plan to retrieve some of those items, but residents say the plan is flawed.

News 12 Staff

Jun 23, 2023, 12:26 AM

Updated 299 days ago

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Yonkers residents displaced by a fire that ripped through their Bronx River Road apartment complex back in March say they are still unable to retrieve their personal items.
The property company has come up with a plan to retrieve some of those items, but residents say the plan is flawed.
"It's ridiculous, a total violation of my rights," Joseph Perez says. He is one of the residents still unable to claim their items months after a fire tore through 671 Bronx River Road.
Managment cited asbestos on the property as the reason residents cannot reenter the building to retrieve their belongings.
"Unfortunately, those memories are on home videos that are upstairs in the apartment," says resident Jeannie Sarachelli.
H.S.C Management Corp. took over the handling of the situation from Metropolitan Property Services. Their solution is to send a person in a hazmat suit with a camera into each unit, give residents 10 minutes to guide that person around so they can collect their belongings.
Residents said they are furious over this for a few reasons but there is one they are most concerned about.
In order to retrieve their property, they must sign a contract which says if there is any loss, damage or theft of personal property before, during or after the retrieval, the company is not liable.
Residents say this will not work and it is not enough time.
"I wasn't here for the fire, and then I come home, and I can't get to my house and all my memories... everything is in there, important documents. Is this guy going to be able to take all this in 10 minutes?" said resident Ana Espinal.
"Absolutely not. I said they're out of their mind. I have 40 years of my life in photographs in there, my certificates, all of my career and a lot of important and classified information to my career that I need access to, and they're not letting me to it," Perez says.
Residents say they were given a week to sign the contract and failure to do so means they are consenting to having their items disposed of.
"I don't want to sign it, but I don't want them to destroy my stuff, so I'm torn," says resident Jeannie Sarachelli.
The deadline to sign the contract is this Friday.
News 12 reached out to H.S.C Management Corp. but had not yet to responded as of Thursday night.
Residents say they are heartbroken and confused.


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