UNION CITY - A special “fire watch” was placed back on a building owned by Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf in Union City earlier this week after fire escapes were removed from the building, according to Union City officials.
On Friday, Union City spokesman Mark Albiez said that a city official driving by 2206 Central Ave. last week noticed the fire escapes had been removed, which prompted the watch to be placed on the building.
The fire watch continued through Oct. 13 when an inspection determined that the building was safe for tenants again.
Last month cops were placed on watch at one of Rauf’s building after an inspection determined imminent hazards at the building related to inoperable alarms and sprinklers and Rauf failed to respond by hiring private fire patrol while the problems were being fixed.
The city has since sought to recoup the costs for having the cops at the building in September and, according to Albiez, may choose to do the same in this case.
“The city tries to recoup any monies that are spent providing services that should be provided by the landlord,” he said.
Rauf, the imam at the center of the controversy over plans to build an Islamic cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan, has faced a whirlwind of issues at the buildings he owns in Union City over the past month and is currently facing a lawsuit from the city for allegedly failing to address several complaints about the poor living conditions in his buildings.