Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 13 June 2014 00:00
104 Mineola Blvd. LLC was fined $2,500 and recently pleaded guilty to operating without a plumber’s license and unpermitted work in Mineola Village Court. Two plumbers sparked a fire in the second floor apartment above Wong’s Noodle House on Monday, April 7, authorities said.
“This is what happens when you have unlicensed plumbers doing unlicensed work,” Village Building Superintendent Dan Whalen said.
Arcadio Matias, superintendent of the building, which is owned by 104 Mineola Blvd. LLC., and plumber Puello Vasquez were issued summonses after the two were sweating pipes with a torch in the second floor apartment’s bathroom, which abutted a bedroom closet near where a tenant was sleeping, officials said. The closet, filled with clothes, caught fire and awoke the resident.
Whalen said the violations included doing the work without a village license, insurance coverage, a permit or without building department approval.
“The two individuals who were doing the work there were working at the direction from building management,” said Whalen. “Therefore, the owners were made responsible for putting these guys there. While [Matias and Vasquez’s] summonses were dismissed, the managers took a guilty plea for [104 Mineola Blvd. LLC.] who put [Matias and Vasquez] there.”
Matias was present at the ruling, while Vasquez was out of the country, tending to a family matter. The two summonses were dismissed.
“It’s not like we’re just looking for money [for licensing and permits],” Mayor Scott Strauss said. “We want to make sure the job is done right by qualified professionals so your house doesn’t burn down or become damaged. Here’s a situation where two guys come in to a house that are unlicensed and uninsured with a blowtorch to [sweat a pipe] in a tight space. They shouldn’t be doing that.”
The building department investigated the incident in conjunction with the Nassau County Fire Marshal’s office and found the blaze occurred due to “human error” during the course of plumbing. Wong’s experienced severe water damage and has been shuttered since.
“[Wong’s] is shut down because of this error, had nothing to do with it and was trying to make ends meet,” Strauss said. “Now, he can’t.”
Mineola Fire Department officials said two residents and one worker were transported to Winthrop University Hospital and treated for smoke inhalation. Four residents in total were displaced because of the fire.
“Having permits and inspections prevents people from cutting corners,” Strauss said. “Those are in place to protect residents and business owners.”