Crown Heights house of horrors goes up in flames
A house of horrors in Crown Heights, once home to a cult-like commune and the site of several murders, burst into flames on Wednesday.
The 2-alarm fire broke out at around 5 a.m. at 222 Brooklyn Ave., prompting the response of about 130 firefighters, Gothamist reported. By the time they managed to contain the blaze around 8:40 a.m., only the bones of the building remained.
Four firefighters were injured amid the response efforts.
The vacant building once belonged to Devernon LeGrand, a self-proclaimed preacher who lured teens young girls to his home with the promise of money and alcohol. Rather than save their souls, the preacher forced them to panhandle, often in nun attire.
In 1977, LeGrand and his stepson were convicted of killing and dismembering two teenage girls, according to the New York Times. Dozens more people last seen heading toward the building have also disappeared and were never found.
Most locals are hesitant to discuss the four-story townhome given its history and the power the LeGrand family holds. Tracey, who would only provide her first name, has lived in the area most of her life and has always worked to avoid walking past the now-empty residence.
“I just was like, OK, I will listen to my family and stay away like I’m supposed to because I didn’t wanna go missing,” the 57-year-old told Gothamist. “I didn’t know to the extent of what was truly, truly happening in there — it’s all hearsay, I should say.”
The cause of the fire is unknown and the New York Fire Department is investigating.