Williamsburg Warehouse Fire Sent Sensitive Documents Everywhere

via FDNY's Instagram account

The enormous Williamsburg warehouse fire this weekend is still smoldering, and conspiracy theories are flying back and forth about what, exactly, caused the huge blaze. If you walk around the area where the warehouse is, on the waterfront and North 11th Street, you’re likely to find more evidence of the fire than just the smell: Because the building was used to hold thousands of paper records, many of those charred sensitive documents were unloosed into the Brooklyn air. So sonograms, social security numbers, and other pieces of paper you might not want a stranger having free and easy access to are scattered, literally, to the wind.

The warehouse held documents from the Department of Envrionmental protection, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Department of Housing preservation and Development. But actually, not as many as you might think. According to the New York Times, the contents of the Williamsburg warehouse arejust more than one percent of the 4.4 million boxes of records the city has around the city.

The whole thing is highlighting why, exactly, it’s taken so long to digitize these documents in the first place. And it looks bad for anyone who hopes to recover information stored in that warehouse.

“Nearly every document had significant fire damage, or some sort of damage which really made them illegible,” Ron McMurtrie, a representative for the storage company operating the warehouse, told the Times. The damaged documents will be destroyed to comply with privacy laws. But also there are the ones that are kind of just being pummeled into the snow and slush out there. Those, who knows>

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