By Patrick Hedlund
DNAinfo News Editor
CHINATOWN — An overheated electrical box sparked the inferno that tore through two buildings in Chinatown last month, killing one resident and leaving dozens homeless, the FDNY said.
A three-week investigation into the seven-alarm blaze, which ripped through 283 and 285-287 Grand St. in the early-morning hours of April 12, revealed the blaze started in a metal junction box that connected electrical cable feeding power to the building, fire marshals determined.
The three-inch box was located in what appeared to be a storage area in the back of a 99-cent store at 283 Grand St., the FDNY said. Sparks or heat from the box started the massive blaze.
Marshals traced the fire’s origin by conducting interviews and studying burn patterns at the scene, the FDNY added. Melted copper wire tipped investigators to the box, as wire typically only melts due to a short within the box.
The fire killed 87-year-old resident Sing Ho and injured dozens of emergency responders.
The two buildings were recently demolished after the city determined them to be structurally unstable.