Busted smoke alarms. Broken ovens. Mold and malfunctioning exhaust fans.
Those are among the horrors identified by city inspectors during recent reviews of apartments in a Bronx housing tower before it became the scene of the deadliest fire in a generation in New York City, records reviewed by The Post show.
At least 17 people — including eight children — perished Sunday after a space heater sparked a fire that flooded the 19-story complex at 333 East 181th St. with deadly smoke.
The decrepit conditions were documented and ordered fixed by the New York City Housing Authority, which was tasked by federal regulations with inspecting 12 of the 120 units in the building because it provided those tenants with rent vouchers.
“When I moved here 30 years ago the building was nice. For the last five years the maintenance has been lousy,” said 69-year-old Tysena Jacobs, who lives on the 15th floor. “The building is full of rats and mice. The smell of dead rats was so overpowering you couldn’t breathe.”
Five of the apartments — nearly half of those checked — failed NYCHA’s inspections, which took place between 2019 and 2021.
Two of the units were on the third floor — the same as the apartment where the fire, sparked by a space heater, broke out.
In Unit 3M, NYCHA’s inspection found no smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, the living room door’s plates were broken, as was the storage cabinet, while mold was growing on the ceiling and there was evidence of lead in the paint of a hallway wall.
The agency offered the family a transfer in September 2021 when the landlord failed to fix the problems for two months after the inspection. A representative for the landlord said the company did replace the smoke detector.
Down the hall in 3L, NYCHA’s review in July uncovered a broken oven and several rooms without a required smoke detector. Records show the landlord certified the repairs were made in November.
A third apartment was on the 15th floor, which Fire Commissioner Dan Nigro said was flooded by choking smoke in part because several doors malfunctioned and failed to self-close as is required by law.
There, in 15N, inspectors found the smoke detector was missing its battery. A representative for the landlord said in a statement the issue was fixed that same month but NYCHA did not certify the repair was completed until November.
Overall, the records show that NYCHA eventually signed off on the repairs to four of the five units.
However, tenants said that often problems would persist or quickly reappear.
“Any time we complained the smoke alarms in our apartment didn’t work, they would take weeks to come and fix them,” said 17-year-old Francisco Javier, who lives on the ninth floor with his sister, Gabriela. “Even when they fixed the smoke alarms, it wouldn’t be long until they broke again.”
The findings are the latest evidence of the toll that years of apparent mismanagement and disinvestment took on the high rise, which was heralded upon its completion in the early 1970s as a future model for low- and middle-income housing projects.
“Our oven didn’t work, and you could smell gas when it was on, so we removed their oven and replaced it with our own,” said Jeannie Torres, 38, whose 12th-floor apartment was not among those NYCHA was required to inspect but told The Post the problems identified by the agency’s reviews were widespread.
“They put me on a waiting list and I was worried it was dangerous, so I couldn’t wait,” she added.
The Post previously revealed that inspectors from another city agency, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, busted the building six times in recent years for failing to keep the tower’s self-closing doors in working order.
Attorney General Letitia James vowed to probe the blaze and if neglect contributed to it when addressing mourners this week.
“I will also use the law both as a sword and as a shield to get to the bottom of this fire,” she told the crowd.
“There’s a lesson to be learned about the neglect of government,” she added, “and there’s a lesson to be learned about why this continues to happen in this corner of the Bronx.”
The building was purchased by a firm controlled by real estate magnate Rubin Schron in 2013, who received nearly $25 million in state financing to pay for repairs and renovations at the Twin Parks Northwest complex, which also includes two other apartment buildings.
Schron sold all three buildings to a consortium of investors in December 2019 that includes Rick Gropper, who was a member of the housing committee for Mayor Eric Adams’ transition.
“Since the moment we took over the property, we have worked tirelessly to improve conditions for our residents,” said a spokesman for the current ownership group. “We are cooperating fully with the Fire Department and other city agencies as they investigate the cause of this tragic fire, and we are doing all we can to assist our residents.”
Schron did not respond to a message seeking comment.