Binghamton Building Owner: City Should Have Called About Fire
The Binghamton apartment house destroyed by an apparent arson fire was owned by Isaac Anzaroot, who says city officials didn't contact him about the blaze.
The fire at 159 Conklin Avenue erupted shortly after 7 a.m. Tuesday. The three-story building was declared a complete loss and was ordered torn down after the blaze was extinguished.
Anzaroot said he learned of the fire from a WNBF News report. He said he received no call from city representatives.
Discussing the matter Wednesday afternoon, Anzaroot said "you would think they would have given me a call." Mayor Jared Kraham could not be reached for comment.
After this story was published, Deputy Mayor Megan Heiman emailed this statement:
"Mr. Anzaroot’s statement that he was not contacted by the City is false. An official from the City’s Code office spoke to Mr. Anzaroot’s office manager yesterday morning to inform them there was a fire at the building. Furthermore, fire officials have left numerous messages for Mr. Anzaroot regarding the recent fire at 12 Green St., which he also owns. Those calls have not been returned."
Anzaroot said he was out of town when he found out about the massive blaze that was raging at the Conklin Avenue building. He said he contacted his company's representatives when he learned of the fire.
Gorick Construction Company was hired by the city to immediately tear down the building following the fire.
Police said 36-year-old Marquetta James of New Haven, Connecticut is suspected of setting the fire in the apartment building. Detectives took her into custody at a Binghamton hotel. She has been charged with second-degree arson.
Investigators said James was an acquaintance of a building resident, who they did not identify. They did not indicate a possible motive.
Anzaroot doesn't know what will happen with the site where the apartment house stood until Tuesday. A giant pile of rubble was all that remained of the building Wednesday.
He said he'd "love to rebuild there" because of the nice views of the city from the site overlooking the Susquehanna River.
This story was updated to include a City Hall response to Isaac Anzaroot's comments.