WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — The small business where an employee was crushed to death by an elevator Saturday night was padlocked shut Monday — as officials look into whether the lift was installed illegally.
The shop, La Reguera Dominicana at 552 W. 182 St., where locals shopped for discounted home items and clothes, was ordered closed after Jose Fernandez, 43, was fatally pinned by the supply elevator Saturday night, sources said.
Yellow fire tape and a padlocked chain crisscrossed a fence outside the store and a pair of Buildings Department orders — in English and Spanish — announced that the property had been ordered vacated.
The Department of Buildings, which issued the vacate order, said they had no records of an elevator having been legally installed on the property.
The DOB previously issued a violation against the building in November for converting the property basement into retail space and floors 2 through 4 into residential homes without a permit. The city issued a $1,200 fine for that violation in March, according to city records. It had not been paid as of Monday afternoon, records show.
That complaint and inspection history, a DOB spokesman said, is being looked into as part of their ongoing investigation.
The property owner, named in city records as Ortal Salman, of Brooklyn, could not be reached for comment, nor could her husband, Yehezkel Salman, who transferred the property to her in 2012, according to Department of Finance records.
Customers and friends created a makeshift memorial — with several candles, a Dominican Republic flag and flowers — outside the business.