On December 20th, a fire broke out at 38 Jackson Street, the Chambord Building in Hoboken. It was later confirmed that the fire began with an explosion. First responders including the Hoboken Fire Department, Hoboken Police Department, and Hoboken Volunteer Ambulance were on the scene without pause, securing the location and fighting the fire that not only continued to burn for about 48 hours (on and off) but traveled to the opposite side of the building, affecting the businesses on that end.
It was determined after the preliminary investigation that the fire was an accident. It was concluded that it began in the “rear of the building at Glass & Vapor House LLC” and ignited due to the flammable material present which likely contributed to the fire.
Since the fire, several dozen businesses owners have not been permitted to return to the building as the structure has been significantly impacted. They have not been able to go into the building, as the investigation is still active, and attempt to go through their belongings and recover what may be salvageable.
“All of the businesses impacted by the Chambord Building fire have been forgotten by building management and the City of Hoboken. There has been no clear communication. No accountability. No support.” Jen Prado of House of Klado told us.
She went on to share that the business owners received an email from the attorneys representing 38 Jackson, LLC and 135 Washington Street, LLC citing, “Due to the property’s post-fire structural instability, the City of Hoboken has, or will soon, order the property demolished and the debris removed. As a result, after the upcoming joint-inspection is complete, the fire scene will be released for post-fire demolition and remediation.”
Some of the business owners have organized a march which will take place this Friday, January 21st, at 10AM. It will start in front of the Chambord Building to City Hall in response to “being left in the dark by both building management and the city of Hoboken,” as well as being notified that “they plan on demolishing the building after a walkthrough on February 14th” without communication on the possibility of allowing businesses the attempt to retrieve items. The goal of the march which will take place along 1st Street is to “demand answers, fight for our rights and property,” as stated by marchers.
The event details can be found on Facebook here.
At 1:30PM on January 20th, a letter was sent out to the business owner’s in the building by Vijay Chaudhuri, the Mayor’s Chief of Staff, stating:
I write to provide you an update on 38 Jackson Street.
As indicated in my last email, the City is awaiting a structural engineering report from the building owner. This report has now taken longer than the City had expected as we anticipated having it by the end of this week, especially given the urgency of the tenants to understand when access can be granted to retrieve items. As a result, at the direction of the Mayor, the buildings department has given the property owner the deadline of end of day Monday for the owner’s engineer to produce this report.
If this report is not given by then, the City of Hoboken’s own engineer will come in and inspect on site the building on Tuesday or Wednesday, and provide its own report to the Hoboken Buildings Department. We understand the frustration of many at the length of time it has taken for this to be provided, and while this is not usually the course of action taken by the City, we believe this is necessary due to the extenuating circumstances.
Once that report is produced, the Buildings Department will notify tenants when and where it is safe to go back and retrieve items, regardless of what the letter you received from the building’s legal counsel, stated about February inspections. The letter was a surprise to the City and was not provided to us in advance of it being received by the tenants.
I can also confirm that the buildings department has not given any notice to condemn the property or orders to demolish the building. That letter alluding to that was extremely misleading and inaccurate, and I understand the confusion that it caused. I have spoken directly to Mr. Patruno, the head of the buildings department, earlier this week, yesterday and today about the urgent nature of tenants needing to get items from their locations, and he fully understands the very difficult situation many of you are facing, and we will be doing everything possible to help accommodate this. I apologize if this was not clear in my previous communications.
We will be reporting back next week as to the status of the report and the buildings department’s determination of when tenants can access various areas of building.
I hope this has been helpful.
As more details unfold, we will continue to report on them.
Many of the businesses have Gofundme campaigns to help with the loss of their products, tools, and studios. See a list of campaigns HERE.