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August 22, 2001 -Tenants Sick Of City Building, Sue Over Dwelling They Call Toxic

Tenants of a city-owned building in Washington Heights say their homes are being invaded by a sickening combination of carbon monoxide, toxic mold, lead and sulfur dioxide.

Lawyer Roy Kuriloff, who represents 38 tenants and intends to sue, argued that the city has an obligation to provide a safe environment for the people who live at 609 W. 158th St.

Instead, he said yesterday, his clients are suffering from asthma, headaches, memory problems, rashes, nosebleeds and brain damage. But Carol Abrams, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development, said, "We believe that the ventilation issues have been resolved." She said the agency hasn't received complaints about mold or about tenants with asthma. Last April, the Fire Department ordered the building's boiler shut down because of high carbon monoxide levels and poor ventilation, according to court records.

Kuriloff said in his court filing that he has photos showing soot and gases may have escaped from a broken chimney and entered tenants' apartments. He said he also has photos showing the basement vents sealed off, virtually assuring that carbon monoxide built up in the basement and infiltrated the entire building when the boiler was used.

Librada Cordova, who lives in the building with her husband and two children, wept as she insisted the building has made her family sick. Sitting in her fifth-floor apartment surrounded by scores of prescription bottles, inhalers and breathing machines, Cordova said her family suffers from asthma, headaches, dizziness and other problems. She and her husband, building super Enrique Guillen, said their kids, ages 2 and 4, have been hospitalized repeatedly.

Another tenant, Monserrate Rodriguez, complained, "The stink in the building has been horrible all through the years. I have pain in my throat and I find it hard to breathe. . . . I keep going to the doctor. He can't find the reason for it."

In all Sick Building Syndrome cases it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the incident in question, and to enable physicians or other expert witnesses to thoroughly evaluate any injuries. If you or a loved one is a victim of injury as a result of exposure to toxic mold, call now at or CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A CASE FORM. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don't delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.

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