HEMPSTEAD - Fire officials say the management company that owns a Hempstead apartment complex that caught fire this month had been ordered to replace its fire alarm system, but had failed to do so.
The fire that ripped through parts of the apartment complex on St. Paul's Road killed tenant Guadalupe Ramirez, 37, and her 8-year-old son, Fernando. After the fire, residents told News 12 Long Island that their alarm system had not been functioning.
Now, the Nassau County Fire Marshal's Office says the complex owner, Dorchester LLC of Oyster Bay, had been ordered to install a new alarm system years ago, but failed to do so.
Fire officials say Dorchester LLC went through several contractors before plans were approved for a new alarm system in January. However, the new equipment wasn't operable and the old system wasn't working at all when flames broke out this month.
Tenants who survived the fire say they awoke to the screams of their neighbors on the night that the fire sparked.
Fire officials say Dorchester has received numerous violations in the past. The firm has been ordered to have an electrical inspection performed and to repair the complex's fire escapes by the end of April.
The company was not available for comment Sunday.
Residents in the unaffected buildings were allowed to move back in last week, but not before a new alarm system and emergency lighting system were installed.