Heat safety: Stories meant to help protect New York’s Very Own

‘It’s 90 degrees in here’: Family with asthmatic son placed in sweltering apartment by Homeless Services

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WILLIAMSBRIDGE, the Bronx — A family's home in the Bronx reached 90 degrees during Monday's sweltering heat.

Maritza Ortiz called PIX11 News for help because the New York City Department for Homeless Services placed her, her asthmatic son and ailing husband in the ground-floor apartment last October after two years of living in a city shelter.

“It’s 90 degrees in here,” Ortiz said. “The heat is tremendous. It’s to die for."

Ortiz said she complained to the city's Department of Buildings and her landlord.

“We go through water like crazy,” Ortiz said. “We sweat. My son is a very sick boy and we all get bit by mosquitoes."

There is a single window in the apartment, in the one bedroom they all share, with a locked window gate. So they bought a windowless air conditioner and a fan, but it is still too hot for Larry Jr., who uses an inhaler three times a day, and for Larry Sr.

“No windows, no air,” Larry Brown Sr., Ortiz's husband, said. “I sleep on the floor in the bedroom, if you can call it that. It’s ridiculous."

His son echoed his sentiments.

“Super hot. I’m sweating. My head is very hot,” Larry Brown Jr. said.

His mom showed PIX11 the building’s certificate of occupancy, which clearly shows that the apartment the city placed her family in is zoned for storage only.

“Someone from the city was supposed to say 'yes' or 'no' and make the checks out,” Deborah Caraballo, a family friend, said. “How do you pay $9,000 a year for an apartment that’s considered storage? And she has a child that’s sick."

PIX11 reached out to the New York City Department of Social Services to find out why they placed Ortiz and her family in this particular apartment.

Spokeswoman Lourdes Centeno said they would look into it and get back to us as soon as possible.

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