City of Hartford looking into legal action against landlord for missing fire escapes

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HARTFORD – The director of Hartford’s Licenses and Inspections said city officials are looking into prosecuting the owner of an apartment complex on Spring Street.

“Obviously, he was clearly in the wrong,” said Dan Loos, of Bob Glauber of Hartford Spring LLC.

Loos said police, fire and building officials might file civil action and criminal charges against Glauber after the landlord allegedly allowed tenants back into the Spring Street Apartments before obtaining clearance from the city.

Inspectors had evacuated renters in December after a woman fell through a fire escape, and the subsequent investigation revealed faulty fire escapes.

Tuesday, inspectors said they returned to find no fire escapes at all, but a building filled with tenants. The Spring Street Apartments renters, some who moved in after the first violation, were forced to evacuate again.

“Unfortunately, this situation is a downer,” said Kyle Hinds, a father of four who moved in in March. He said he was never told the fire escapes were still in violation.

Officials said Glauber tore the fire escapes down but never completed the reinstallation.

“If you open the door, you would walk out into air,” said Loos. “Until they get the okay from the city, the various departments, they're not supposed to be occupying the building.”

Building superintendent Norberto Olmo said city officials need to shoulder some of the blame.

“This would've been already done, if they would've done the job in the beginning," he said of the fire escapes. "We wouldn't be talking right now.”

Olmo said fire officials OKed a new fire escape plan, then rescinded their approval – after supplies were already ordered, equipment was trucked in and foundations were cemented. The problem, according to Olmo, is that the blueprints approved by fire officials were for house fire escapes, not fire escapes meant for a building.

“I mean, who is going to pay for the mistakes now? The landlord's not going to pay for the mistakes. Somebody's got to pay for it because whoever signed off on it, somebody has to pay for the labor,” said Olmo, who said the fire escape fiasco is adding up to $100,000.

Loos has another idea about who should dish out cash: Glauber. He said to stay tuned for court documents.

Glauber did not return Fox CT’s request for comment.