Neighborhood Chatter: Soho Fire, Chinatown Bus Hits Peds, Deadline for FEMA Aid

Written by NY Press on . Posted in News Our Town Downtown, Our Town Downtown.


Deadly Fire in Soho
Last Thursday, police responded to a 911 call of a fire at 41 Spring St. at 6:40 p.m. Officers arriving on the scene of the five-story apartment building, which has a Pinkberry on the ground floor, found the blaze already raging, and a man, 45-year-old Wei Chu Wu, attempting to block first responders from entering the location. When firefighters were able to gain access to the building and battle the flames, they discovered one person already deceased on the fire escape; all other residents were able to escape safely.

An NYPD investigation found that Wu allegedly started the fire after he had argument with a woman he has a child with, and then tried to keep first responders from entering. The woman and the child were accounted for after the fire. A police officer from the , a nine-year veteran of the force, sustained a broken hand from fighting with Wu and was transported to Downtown Hospital.
Wu, who lives in apartment 2A of the building, was arrested and is expected to be charged with first-degree arson, second-degree murder, attempted assault on a police officer and resisting arrest.

Léman Manhattan Names New Head of Lower School
Rachel Griffin has just been named the new Head of Lower School at Léman Manhattan Preparatory School. Officially joining the faculty after being interim Lower School Head, school officials have high hopes for this new addition.

“With a diverse and accomplished educational background, Griffin embodies Léman’s commitment to global education and delivering the highest-caliber academics,” Drew Alexander, head of school for Léman Manhattan (grades K through 12), said in a statement.

“I am truly excited and very honored to be offered this position at Léman Manhattan, a school that I truly love,” said Griffin, who is a Columbia University Teachers College alumna. “I am dedicated to Léman’s mission, to providing a purposeful world-class education and inspiring our amazing students to reach their full potential.”

Bus Hits Pedestrians
Two pedestrians walking in the crosswalk at the entry to the Manhattan Bridge in Chinatown were run over by a Fung Wah bus last week. According to Gothamist, an NYPD spokesman described the two people as being “unconscious and unresponsive” as the first responders arrived. Both victims, a 57-year-old woman who was critically injured and a 63-year-old man who was stable, were brought to New York Presbyterian after being struck near Canal Street and Bowery. The 50-year-old driver, the only person on the bus at the time, remained on the scene and was given a summons for failure to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.

Deadline for Near
has developed a checklist to help Hurricane Sandy survivors rebuild smarter, stronger and safer so their homes are protected in future storms. Key points of the checklist include: Know your risk, develop a plan, finalize the plan, get insurance. This checklist can be downloaded at .gov/SandyNY.

State and federal officials encourage anyone affected by the disaster to register for assistance by calling toll-free 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585. If you use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362.

Register online anytime at DisasterAssistance.gov. Visit m.fema.gov on your mobile phone or download the FEMA app on your smartphone or tablet. Multilingual operators are available, and for information on programs in multiple languages, visit www.fema.gov/all-languages.

For more information on New York’s disaster recovery, visit:

Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990

DRC Locator: www.FEMA.gov/disaster-recovery-centers

DUA: www.labor.ny.gov/ui/claimantinfo/disaster-unemployment-assistance.shtm

Free Legal Assistance: 1-800-310-7029

NY State Job Bank: www.newyork.us.jobs

STEP Program (Nassau County): 1-888-684-4267

STEP Program (Suffolk): 211

Rapid Repair (NYC): 311

Rental Resource (Portal): http://asd.fema.gov/inter/hportal/home.htm

Compiled by Megan Bungeroth & Jessica Mastronardi

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