Neighbors say homeowner’s son was at condemned Plainview house that burned down almost every day
A Plainview house fire that left several people homeless could have easily been prevented, neighbors say.
They say the house, which was condemned due to a previous fire, should have had a fence around it to keep people off the property.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Condemned Plainview home goes up in flames hours before it was expected to be torn down
Instead, neighbors say the homeowner’s adult son, Vito Punzi, was constantly inside the house that burned down.
Punzi told News 12 Monday that he was inside his mother’s condemned home, cooking with a propane stove before the house burned to the ground at around 4:30 a.m. Saturday.
News 12 tracked Punzi at a house in Levittown. He said he lived in “both places” when asked if he was living at the house in Plainview.
Punzi said “I can’t answer you” when he was asked if he was living at the Plainview house part time.
The home that burned down on Audrey Avenue had been deemed unlivable and was scheduled to be torn down following a separate fire in January 2020 that killed Punzi’s sister.
Neighbors say Punzi continued to show up at the house almost every day.
“You would say to yourself, how is he going in and out of the house,” says Justin Bolobanic. “How is this allowed? There should have been a perimeter set up around for not being able to enter.”
According to the Town of Oyster Bay, every legal effort was made to seal off the home.
A spokesperson for the town wrote: “This is private property. Following the initial fire, the house was secured in the typical fashion of boarding and securing it from those trying to enter. It is incumbent upon the homeowner to keep it secured as they still maintain ownership of the property.”
The town says the pandemic had caused district courts to close. That’s why the demolition was pushed back.