On September 26th, the New York City Council Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice held an Oversight Hearing entitled – High Rise Fires and What New York City Can Learn from the London Tragedy.
The first speaker’s panel consisted on representatives from the DOB and the FDNY. Chief Ferrier, speaking on behalf of the FDNY discussed the methods that the FDNY utilizes to fight high rise fires. Also discussed was whether or not NYC uses any combustible cladding. The short answer is that yes, there is some combustible cladding somewhat similar to the cladding in the London fire that is used in NYC. The FDNY has fought two fires with combustible cladding. Also significantly discussed at this hearing was fire protection and New York City Housing Authority apartment buildings. A tenant representative from the Claremont Apartments in the Bronx cited hat not only did their buildings not have sprinklers, they only have one means of egress. One in four NYCHA housing complexes consists of 5 and 6-story combustible buildings.
The New York Fire Sprinkler Council provided testimony regarding the efficacy of sprinklers and that fire safety is one example of inequity in our city – existing laws governing residential occupancies only cover new buildings. Local 638 also provided written testimony to the committee.
We hope to meet with Councilmember Crowley in the near future to continue a discussion on fire sprinklers in existing residential New York City buildings.