(Updated) City: Overcrowding, illegal apartment at Allston home that caught fire

A Boston University student was killed and 15 others hurt in a fire Sunday morning in Allston. Credit: Cheun Park
A Boston University student was killed and 15 others hurt in a fire Sunday morning in Allston. Credit: Cheun Park

The Allston home where a Boston University student died in a fire Sunday was overcrowded and had an illegal basement apartment, the city said. 

Anna Belokurova, the owner of the home at 87 Linden St., was issued three violations by the city’s Inspectional Services Department, said Lisa Timberlake, a department spokeswoman. Belokurova was cited for failure to secure a permit to change the occupancy from a two family to 19 lodgers, failure to secure a long form permit to extend the living space to the basement and having an unsafe structure.

Bryan Glascock, the ISD commissioner, said the agency in January will start a new rental unit inspection program that will aim to inspect 140,000 units in the next five years. He said he expects inspectors will find more illegal apartments and overcrowding during that process.

“It’s a function of the market that’s out there. Rental housing is very, very expeniseve and people will cut corners when they can to make a buck or save a buck,” he said. “We’re hoping that [the new program] helps reduce these kinds of tragedies.”

A message left for Belokurova was not immediately returned.

Binland Lee, a 22-year-old BU senior from Brooklyn, N.Y., was found dead in the attic by firefighters. The three-alarm blaze broke out at the home at about 6:30 a.m. Sunday. Fifteen people were hurt including six firefighters. The cause is still under investigation.

The Boston Fire Department said 19 people were living in the home. BU officials said at least nine of the people living in the home were students.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.



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