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VIDEO: Man Floods Homeless Shelter After Yanking Sink From Wall

By Katie Honan | November 7, 2014 7:29am
VIDEO: Man Floods Homeless Shelter After Yanking Sink From Wall
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DNAinfo

ARVERNE — Residents at a homeless shelter for adult families sparked chaos at the facility twice in the past month — with one man flooding the place after pulling a sink out of a wall and another man starting a massive fire, officials said.

Firefighters were called to the shelter at 316 Beach 65th St. at 1 a.m. Monday after a resident destroyed the sink in the middle of the night and unleashed a flood of water, according to the FDNY and a spokesman for Housing Bridge, which operates the shelter.

The resident claimed the sink just fell from the wall, said the spokesman, Hank Sheinkopf. 

The aftermath of the flooding left rooms inundated, garbage bins filled with murky water and a hole in the ceiling of the third floor, according to photos and videos obtained by DNAinfo.

 The Arverne shelter also had a two-alarm fire in October.
Far Rockaway Homeless Shelter Damaged After Sink Pulled from Wall
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One resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said nobody in the facility would tell them what was going on despite alarms ringing for hours.

"They never let you know" what was going on, said another.

A spokesman for the Department of Homeless Services said the agency "worked closely with the provider to ensure that all necessary repairs were made at the site after Monday morning’s accident."

The water was restored to the facility later that day, officials said.

The shelter was also thrown into chaos on Oct. 14 when a resident set his mattress on fire in a fourth-floor room, according to the Queens District Attorney's office. 

Hiram Bayon-Rojas, 34, was arrested and charged with arson, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief, according to his criminal complaint. Bayon-Rojas has since been removed from the facility, according to Sheinkopf.

Sheinkopf emphasized that the flood and the arson were “isolated incidents."

“It's not a pattern,” he said. “They have nothing to do with the quality of the facility."

The shelter a former Daytop drug facility became a residential unit for families in July.

He added that the shelter was inspected in mid-July and was most recently visited on Oct. 20 by DHS Commissioner Gilbert Taylor.

Taylor's visit was voluntary, Sheinkopf said, and Housing Bridge's "ratings and inspections have been very good." The DHS did not immediately provide the results of the inspections.

The city has scrambled to meet capacity for its growing homeless population which is more than 57,000 people, according to recent statistics.

Two other Queens shelters that opened in the summer as emergency shelters, the Pan Am and the Westway, will become permanent after the six-month deadline is up, DHS said.