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String of Fires Hit Buildings at Abandoned Staten Island Poorhouse

By Nicholas Rizzi | May 2, 2013 12:58pm

WILLOWBROOK — A brush fire started at the site of an abandoned poorhouse in Staten Island on Thursday, the latest in a string of fires to hit the dilapidated group of buildings.

The FDNY received the call of a small brush fire at the former New York City Farm Colony, at 509 Brielle Ave., at 9:11 a.m. It was brought under control at 10:58, fire officials said.

Fire fighters on scene said the fire hit one of the many buildings inside the site, and was the latest in a string of blazes at the site over the last couple of weeks.

The FDNY could not say exactly how many fires had been reported. The causes are unknown.

The Farm Colony, which later became part of SeaView Hospital, was established as the Richmond County Poorhouse in 1829. Residents were required to work farming vegetables and fruits at the site.

It served as a poorhouse and later geriatric hospital and home until it closed in 1975, according to the New York Times.

The buildings were landmarked in 1985, but they have deteriorated since the closure in 1975. The site is now subject to vandalism, graffiti and occasional ghost hunts.