Friday, February 08, 2008


Fire at Benjamin Shaoul's 120 St. Marks Place Early Friday Evening ...

FDNY at the scene after successfully dealing with the fire situation at 120 St. Marks Place .

Benjamin Shaouls 120 St.Marks Place with combo piercing salon , tattoo parlor and bong-shop in a space that he originally lawfully agreed to rent as a community facilitiues space . Mr. Shaoul has yet to lawfully rent any of the original lawfully agreed-to community facilities spaces to a lawfully qualifying community facilities tennant .

NYPD at the scene investigating the event

Early Friday evening we received a call alerting us to a fire with smoke issuing from the upper floor of the building at 120 St. Marks Place . We rushed to the scene because we did not know how big the fire was and we also knew that this building , being a brand new building with 7 outstanding violations , in excess of $20000 in unpaid fines and no currently valid certificate of occupancy ( see NYC DOB building profile for this building at ) , was constructed using light gauge steel structural components .
For an idea of what light gauge steel technology is look at this HUD report :
Light-gauge steel structures even though required to be "fire-safed" with fire-blocking , a variety of insulating materials and occasionally sprinklered , are one of the least likely kinds of structures to survive a fire . Light-gauge structural systems are of course also one of the least expensive structural systems available and are thus widely used in our city .
This was not a big fire fortunately , just an oven fire according to FDNY at the scene .
The City of New York is currently involved in a pilot program to investigate and re-consider the use of light-gauge steel structural components . FDNY will of course participate in these hearings .
Currently FDNY is reluctant to enter any burning building constructed of light-gauge steel structural components because of the greater likeliness of early and unpredictable collapse during a fire .
FDNY is not alone in its official reluctance to enter such light-gauge steel structures during fires , the Los Angeles Fire Dept . , along with many other Fire Dept.s in many smaller juridictions , are also reluctant to enter burning buildings constructed of light-gauge steel structural components . Of course all of these Fire Dept.s will enter these buildings to rescue trapped individuals , they just will not enter these buildings to just save the building .... they see it as too dangerous to risk lives here just to save property especially considering that such property was built on the cheap .
We have posted here many times of this building at 120 St. Marks Place pointing to many design and construction problems among them of course structural and fire safety issues . 120 st Marks Place is not alone in using this light-gauge structural system . Probably a majority of small buildings constructed or re-habilitated in our city , especially the outer boroughs , use light-gauge steel structural components
We also consider that in some cases such light-gauge steel structural systems can be safely used. Its just that we fear that in far too many cases these structures of light-gauge steel component s are not safe because to construct them properly as safe structures the process of design and assembly is too complicated and demanding to be successfully mastered and reliably practiced by many architects and contractors .

There is an internet rumor that Benjamin Shaoul is the real owner of the 17 East Village rental buildings recently purchased by Westbrook Partners from Extell. Since you seem to know something of this guy I'm wondering if you can shed any light on that rumor?
I know it today as rumor . Perhaps tomorrow or some other day I will know it as truth .

Probably I have just read what you have read .There is though , I suspect , out there much that is hidden concerning this man's power and possessions . .
hi - i just found your blog today. i actually live in this building and am the one who called the fire department! you have a lot of interesting history about the building that i'd never had known about if it hadn't been for your blog. keep up the great work!
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