Five of the six properties where 10 New York City residents died were illegally converted cellar and basement apartments, according to a statement released by the New York City Department of Buildings.
Those properties were in the Queens and Brooklyn sections of New York City, according to the statement.
“Our team is tirelessly conducting inspections at over a thousand properties across the five boroughs in the aftermath of Wednesday’s storm, and we’ll continue doing everything we can to keep New Yorkers safe in their residences,” the department's commissioner, Melanie La Rocca, said in the statement.
According to the buildings department, an illegal conversion is an alteration of an existing building to create additional apartment units without first obtaining proper permits or approval, many of which do not follow proper code requirements.
Basements and cellars are categorized differently by the buildings department. A “basement” means more than 50% of floor height is above grade. A “cellar” means more than 50% of the floor height is below grade.
The department said that it has received reports of more than 1,100 properties across the city that have reported damage from the storm. The buildings department says inspectors are conducting safety inspections of these locations