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Landlord cited in NYC fire that killed 5

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February 12, 2010 06:38 PM EST | AP


NEW YORK — Officials say a Brooklyn apartment house where five people died in a fire last month had been chopped up into more units than allowed by law, eliminating access to a fire escape for some tenants.

Authorities say as many as 20 Guatemalan immigrants were crowded into tenements on two floors above a restaurant in the small building in Brooklyn's Bensonhurst section.

New York City's building department issued three civil citations to the building's owner Friday for violations including failing to provide two means of egress.

Each infraction could carry up to $25,000 in fines.

Building owner Vasilios Gerazounis told The Associated Press he had no comment.

Some residents trapped by the Jan. 30 fire lowered their children out of windows to escape the flames.