London Fire Worries New York City Residents

In the aftermath of the Grenfell fire in West London, many New Yorkers wonder, could a similar fire happen in New York City?  MCA President Timothy Bowe discusses the importance of fire sprinkler systems with reporters from WPIX channel 11 and NBC News 4.

NBC 4 NY: After-Devastating-London-Fire-Are-NYC-High-Rises-Safe?



WPIX: At least 6 Dead in West London residential tower inferno.



MCA New York Raises $60,000 for Charity!

On June 13, 2017 the Mechanical Contractors Association of New York held their Annual Charity Golf Outing at the Glen Oaks Country Club in Old Westbury, NY. Through member sponsorships including tee signs, flags, awards, golf carts, brunch, lunch, cocktail hour and dinner, the MCA raised $55,000 towards our charitable donations. Associate Members Wealth Preservation Solutions added to this amount for a total contribution of $60,000!

Members submitted various charities for consideration. The Golf Outing Committee selected two very worthy organizations to receive our ninth annual golf outing sponsorship donation. This year’s charities were The Pediatric Trauma Center at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, submitted by Anthony Bell of Martin Associates; and The Lustgarten Foundation, submitted by Reed Rickman of Crescent Contracting Corp.

The Pediatric Trauma Center at Cohen Children,s Medical Center (CCMC) in New Hyde Park was established in 1996 to meet the needs of critically injured children in our communities. It is the first designated Level 1 regional pediatric trauma center in the entire downstate region and is one of only three such centers in all of New York State. Trauma is the most common cause of injury in the United States pediatric population. Caring for an injured child requires special knowledge, precise management, a gentle touch and the highest level of compassion; and the expert staff at CCMC is dedicated to setting the standard for pediatric trauma care in New York. Many injured children are transported to the trauma center after having been initially stabilized at a local community hospital. With the cooperation of Emergency Medical Services, CCMC operates a fleet of specially-equipped ambulances to transport injured children from other hospitals to the trauma center when specialized care is necessary.

A member of the MCA NY Board of Directors, Mr. Bell became aware of the Trauma Center after touring their facilities earlier this year. Seeing firsthand what kind of incredible services they provide for families in need, he was touched by their efforts and wanted to find a way help them in their mission.

The Lustgarten Foundation, based in Bethpage, NY, is the largest private foundation in the country dedicated solely to funding pancreatic cancer research. With minimal government funding and a five-year survival rate in the single digits, the need for alternately funded research is urgent. The Foundation believes that research provides the best hope of fighting this disease, and ultimately, finding a cure. Since inception, the Foundation has directed over $132 million to research. They have assembled the best and brightest in the field and supported more than 200 projects at nearly 60 medical and research centers worldwide. MCA New York is pleased to support this globally thinking local endeavor, and thanks to private funding, 100% of every dollar we donate goes directly to pancreatic cancer research.

Mr. Rickman addressed the outing participants about his personal involvement with the charity,which he discovered during his wife, Debbie’s recent battle with Pancreatic Cancer. Debbie Rickman also spoke briefly about how touched she was by the membership’s contributions towards research of this terrible disease.

Susanne Igneri, Special Events Coordinator for The Lustgarten Foundation, and Giustine Altschuler, Senior Director of Development for Cohen Children’s Medical Center, were both on hand at the outing to accept the donations and thank the Association for its generosity. We commend all of our outing sponsors for supporting these two amazing organizations, and for contributing over $500,000 to our selected charities since 2008.


City Council to Hold Fire-Safety Hearings On HA Projects After London Tragedy

Jun 19, 2017 (Updated Jun 22, 2017)
(Reprinted with the Permission of TheChiefLeader.com)
[caption id="attachment_163" align="alignleft" width="185"] INEZ BARRON: Greater risk in poorer neighborhoods.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_162" align="alignleft" width="185"] RITCHIE TORRES: London resonates in the Bronx.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_161" align="alignleft" width="127"] GLENN CORBETT: Building materials a factor.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_160" align="alignleft" width="123"] JAMES VACCA: ‘Are we prepared for something similar?’[/caption] [caption id="attachment_159" align="alignleft" width="185"] TIMOTHY BOWE: Some landlords add to the hazards.[/caption]








A mass-casualty fire at a high-rise public-housing complex in London on June 14 has prompted City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, chair of the Council’s Fire and Criminal Justice Committee, and Council Member Ritchie Torres, chair of the Public Housing Committee, to call for hearings to see whether lessons from that tragedy could be applied here.

Engulfed in 15 Minutes

At press time June 19, London fire officials had confirmed 79 deaths and 74 injuries, and officials warned that the death toll could go as high as 100. Dozens of people were still unaccounted for.

According to multiple press reports, the entire building was engulfed by fire within just 15 minutes. Residents were desperate to escape, prompting some of them to jump from their windows. In one instance, NBC News reported a mother threw her heavily blanketed baby out a nine-story window to someone on the ground who caught the infant.

Before 1 a.m. that morning, Firefighters were called to the scene at the 24-story “social housing” Grenfell Tower project in the White City district of London. It had 120 apartments that housed close to 600 people.

The heat of the fire was so intense it severely compromised what remained of the charred shell requiring that Firefighters coordinate with structural engineers the recovery phase of the response.

In the aftermath, experts flagged the cladding curtain-like covering that had been applied to the exterior of the Grenfell Tower last year as part of a multi-million-dollar building upgrade as a potential culprit for the smoke, heat, and intensity of the fire.

Aluminum/Plastic Mix

“That stuff has aluminum on the outside and a plastic core— just Google that 2015 New Year’s Eve fire at that luxury hotel in Dubai and you can see what happens with that material if the fire gets hot enough,” said Glenn Corbett, a Professor of Fire Science at John Jay College and the technical editor for Fire Engineering Magazine. “You do see some use of that material here, but in general it’s used in your one-story commercial application, like for a car dealership.”

Initial reports indicated there were no sprinklers present, and there was no central public-address system to reach tenants who were reportedly confused because they previously had been advised to follow ‘a stay-put’ or ‘shelter-in-place’ protocol in the event of a fire.

While the city’s Housing Authority projects are generally fireproofed, which means that fires stay contained in the residential unit where they start, the agency has historically had problems with the maintenance of elevators and basic emergency lighting. Last year, after the death of an 84-year-old man in an elevator in a Bronx project, a report by the Department of Investigation found “significant flaws” in how the agency responded to high-priority complaints about elevator breakdowns from residents.

“We have an obsolete public housing system and it is an area I think we need to explore,” said Councilman Torres in an interview at City Hall. “In my district in The Bronx, most of the private housing is that five- and six-story-tall multi-family older housing stock, and we need to look at these issues with this tragedy in mind.”

Last year the city reported 48 fire-related deaths, the lowest since reliable data has been compiled. The number of serious fires is also at a historical low. Yet several Council Members supported the call for hearings aimed at further improving fire safety with the London tragedy in focus.

“Even though it was in London, we must ask ourselves how is this city prepared for something like that—are there things we could address here,” to reduce the loss of life, said Council Member James Vacca.

‘Protect Other Housing’

“When I saw those pictures on the television, it was just heart-wrenching and I thought just what shortcomings played out there,” said Council Member Inez Barron. She added that she was concerned about any gap between the fire safety in newer high-rise residential buildings and the city’s older housing stock where most people live. “We should try and get those protections extended to the rest of our housing stock,” she said.

“This should alert us to the possibility of improvements we could make here with the help of relevant experts,” said Councilman Bill Perkins.

A veteran FDNY officer, who did not want his name used, told this newspaper he believed there was too much of a gap between the stringent fire-safety standards for commercial high-rise buildings and residential high-rises. “When you are responding to a job at a commercial building, you have a Fire Safety Director already on the site and the ability to communicate with each floor,” he said. “When you’re responding to a residential high-rise, you got yourself a doorman and no way to effectively talk to the tenants to give them direction.”

Toxicity Greater Now

“Fires are down, but since the 1970s, with the increased use of plastics in construction and in interiors, Firefighters are confronting more-aggressive and harder-to-fight fires that are also more toxic,” said Mr. Corbett. “And since 9/11, it’s harder to convince the public to shelter in place, as people in the World Trade Center were told to do.”

That, he continued, was why he was concerned about the fate of Council legislation that would require the retrofitting of all high-rise residential units with a public-address system to facilitate communication with residents in the event of an emergency. The proposal, which appears to have stalled, was prompted by a 2014 fatal fire in a Hell’s Kitchen residential high-rise during which a 27-year-old man attempted to leave his 32nd-floor apartment and died from smoke inhalation in the stairwell on the 31st floor.

Since the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in lower Manhattan in which 146 gar­ment workers died, it has taken mass-casualty events to spark significant upgrades of the city’s building and fire codes. Historically, the real estate industry has been successful at slowing legislation that adds additional costs.

In 1973, after two high-rise office fires that killed five people and hurt dozens, the city enacted Local Law 5 that required high-rise office buildings 10 stories or higher to have sprinkler systems, along with stair pressurization and compartmentalization to prevent the spread of fires. The real-estate industry litigated that legislation for five years.

Sprinkler Upgrade

In 1999, after two high-rise fires the year before that killed four civilians and three Firefighters, the city required most new residential buildings with four units or more to be outfitted with sprink­lers. It also mandated sprink­lers if existing units underwent significant remodeling that cost more than 50 percent of the buildings’ market value.

As significant as that bill was, Mayor Rudy Giuliani lamented, “I would like to see us go further. I don’t want us to lose the momentum that has come out of these terrible tragedies,” he said at the bill-signing.

Going back to the city’s requirement that sprinklers be installed in theaters in the 19th century, it has been a national leader in sprinkler application, according to Timothy Bowe, president of ABCO Peerless Sprinkler and the New York Mechanical Contractors Association. He said upgrades were always in response to high-profile fire tragedies, including the loss of Firefighters. A case in point would be the most recent upgrade to both the Building and Fire Codes after 9/11.

But, he said, gaps remain and universal retrofitting of sprinklers would save lives and property.

‘Enhance Apartment Safety’

“I think it would be a great way to enhance the life safety of these apartments out in the housing stock in the outer boroughs that have been there a very long time,” he said. “There is quite a bit of frame housing, and people are dying two, three at a time and nobody is paying attention to that. It is mostly for kids and older people.”

Mr. Bowe echoed the concerns of Council Member Barron about an existing disparity in fire- and life-safety measures, saying, “If you are in a Park Avenue building, you don’t have too much to worry about but if you are down in Alphabet City it is a totally different situation. And P.S., the landlords down there are chopping up spaces putting in partitions illegally, no sprinklers, and if there are sprinklers, they are not extending them. There are some horror stories down there.”


2017 BTEA Safety Report Card

On May 10th, union construction industry executives from across the city gathered for the Building Trades Employers’ Association 2017 Construction Safety Report Card breakfast. This event featured presentations by several key stakeholders involved in New York City construction safety. The breakfast was kicked off by BTEA President & CEO Louis Coletti, who then, in turn, introduced MCA Board member and Durr Mechanical Construction, Inc. Vice President of Operations and Safety Frank Heidinger.

[caption id="attachment_140" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Safety Card 2017 MCA 01 NYC DOB Deputy Commissioner of Enforcement Tim Hogan[/caption]

Frank highlighted the hard work and efforts of the BTEA safety committee before introducing US Department of Labor and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials who discussed and presented statistical data from area accidents and fatalities. In addition to the report presented by OSHA, New York City Buildings Department Deputy Commissioner of Enforcement Tim Hogan offered a sobering accounting of the jobsite accidents and safety violations his office encounters.

[caption id="attachment_141" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Safety Card 2017 MCA 02 New York City Fire Department Deputy Assistant Chief Edward Ferrier and FDNY Executive Director of Fire Suppression and the Construction, Demolition and Abatement Units Louis Cendagorta[/caption]

In addition, New York City Council Housing & Buildings Chairman Jumaane Williams discussed recently enacted construction safety legislation along with legislation currently pending. The event concluded with a presentation on construction site fires by New York City Fire Department Deputy Assistant Chief Edward Ferrier and FDNY Executive Director of Fire Suppression and the Construction, Demolition and Abatement Units Louis Cendagorta.


New York City Buildings Department Imposes New “Fitness” Requirement for Licensees

As per a DOB Service Notice published April 2017, effective June 5, 2017, all applicants for initial and renewal New York City Master Fire Suppression Piping Contractor, Master Plumber and Oil Burning Equipment Installer license types will be required to provide proof of fitness to the New York City Department of Buildings to perform the work authorized by the relevant license. Original applicants will be required to submit DOB form LIC61 completed by a physician upon submission of background investigation documents and a completed LIC61 application will be required for every subsequent renewal.

Fitness Requirement

The Mechanical Contractors Association of New York along with several other industry trade associations has requested a meeting with the Department and is asking for the Department to repeal this requirement. We will advise you of the outcome of our efforts.


Home Fires – More Common than You Might Think

Did you know that 1 in 8 people have experienced a home fire? This past February The Hartford conducted an online survey of 1153 adults living in the United States.  Their findings may surprise you!  Ranked by the Hartford Home Fire Index, New York City comes in 14th of the top 100 U.S. cities with the highest home fire risk. Leaving items such as a cell phone charging overnight can put you at risk. The biggest culprit is electrical fires followed by unattended cooking/stovetops and candles.Junior Fire Marshal

Download The Hartford’s Junior Fire Marshal Infographic PDF


The Important Legacy of the Triangle and Happy Land Fires

On March 9th, the Commercial Observer published an opinion piece by MCA Executive Vice President Tony Saporito about remembering the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and the Happy Land Social Club fire. As Tony writes in this piece:Triangle Shirtwaist

“As we remember the innocent lives lost, it is crucial that we also remember the lessons learned that have likely helped prevent future tragedies. The Triangle and Happy Land fires forever changed our city’s building codes, as well as its health and safety laws, helping to make our homes, workplaces, and public establishments significantly safer.”

“Landmark labor, building and workplace safety laws were implemented in the decades following the Triangle fire. Among the codes and regulations enacted after that tragedy was the requirement of exit stairwells, fire alarms, extinguishers, hoses and in tall buildings, automatic fire sprinklers.”

Read the The Important Legacy of the Triangle and Happy Land Fires


NYC DOB Continues DOB NOW Rollout

The Department of Buildings continues to roll out DOB NOW, an interactive, web-based portal that will enable LMFSCs, owners, and other professionals to do all business with DOB online saving time and improving access to information.

Available Now:

  • DOB NOW Public Portal for searching building characteristics and DOB NOW job filings
  • DOB NOW: Safety for Facades for compliance
  • DOB NOW: Build for Plumbing, Sprinklers, and Standpipe job filings

As of January 17th, applicants are able to submit Standpipe job filings in DOB NOW: Build. Later this Spring, supporting document functionality and waiver or deferral requests for supporting documents will be made available in DOB NOW: Build for Standpipe. FAQs are available for more information on DOB NOW: Build for Plumbing, Sprinkler, and Standpipe job filings, and the DOB NOW: Public Portal. Questions or comments can be sent to dobnowsupport@buildings.nyc.gov.


Mechanical Contractors Credit Team Work For Record Drop In Fire Deaths

The following article is courtesy rew-online.com.

2016 was the Big Apple’s safest year in terms of fire fatalities, according to the FDNY.Sprinklers Prevent Fire Deaths

The world’s busiest fire department reported 48 fire-related deaths, the lowest number since the city began recordkeeping in 1916.

It represents a 19 percent decline over the 2015 numbers, and a 17 percent drop from the previous record low of 58 fire-related deaths in 2012. The FDNY also reported a nine percent reduction in “serious fires.”

“We pushed ourselves to save even more lives in 2016 – embarking on a life-saving citywide smoke alarm program that has reached tens of thousands of homes – and we’ve seen the outstanding results with a historic 100-year low for fire fatalities in our city,” said Fire Department of New York Commissioner Daniel Nigro.

“I’m very proud of all our fire and EMS members who worked hard this year to achieve this historic milestone, and – as we enter a new year – we commit again to doing all we can to protect, serve and educate New Yorkers to keep them safe from fire.”

In addition to the significant and commendable work of the FDNY, fire sprinkler systems have also had a tremendous life and property savings impact in New York City. According to the National Fire Protection Association, water-based fire protection systems reduce fire deaths by 82 percent and property damage by 68 percent.

“The co-ordinated efforts among the FDNY, its inspection unit and the unionized fire suppression contracting industry have succeeded in achieving life-saving results,ˮ said Anthony Saporito, executive vice president of Mechanical Contractors Association of New York.

“Aggressive improvements to fire code and public safety laws following the Happy Land Social Club fire in 1990, two deadly high-rise fires in 1998 and the Deutsche Bank fire in 2007 have collectively led to landmark changes which continue to save lives today.”

Passed in 1973, New York City Local Law 5 mandated that all high-rise office buildings in New York City that exceed 100 feet tall have a sprinkler system or pressurized and compartmentalized stairwells.

This legislation followed two fatal 1970 office building fires which resulted in five fatalities and dozens of injuries. That year, the city had 310 fire related deaths. Since then, there has been a gradual and significant 85 percent reduction in fire fatalities leading to this year’s record numbers.

In 1999, Local Law 10 was passed, mandating the installation of fire sprinklers in all newly constructed multifamily dwellings with three or more units.

It also applied to existing buildings undergoing alterations or renovations with costs totaling more than 50% of its value, and established stricter inspection and maintenance standards.

“Sprinklers have repeatedly proved to save lives and reduce property damage, even before the Fire Department arrives on the scene. If trapped in a fire today, a victim has only about three minutes to get out because modern fires grow incredibly toxic and hot in just a matter of minutes,” said Patrick Dolan, Steamfitters Local 638 President.

According to Underwriters Laboratories, fires today are more toxic and burn 800 percent faster because of petroleum-based synthetics in newer furnishings.

This illustrates how important close coordination between New York City property owners, the unionized mechanical contracting industry and the FDNY now more than ever. “The record low number of fire fatalities indicates that New York City has continually worked to improve conditions for every generation. That’s what makes the Big Apple a national leader in fire safety,” said Robert Bartels, Jr., Steamfitters Local 638 Business Agent at Large.


The Nassau County Fire Marshal’s Office Certificate of Fitness Testing

As a reminder, Section of the Nassau County Fire Marshal’s Office requires that all tests shall be performed in the presence of the Fire Marshal by the RME of the firm, however the Nassau County Fire Marshal will allow a Type 1 Certificate of Fitness holder to request permission to be represented by other person familiar with the project, but acceptance of the request is up to the discretion of the individual Fire Marshal witnessing the test. The request must be per job, in writing, identifying the representative he/she requests to be present at the inspection. A ‘blanket’ permission will not be issued, and it will be more difficult to obtain future substitution approvals following an inspection failure. In most cases, the testing should be scheduled for a date and time when the RME is available.

Certificate of Fitness Testing is held on the first Thursday of each month at the Nassau County Public Safety Center located at 1194 Prospect Avenue, Westbury, in room 103 on the first floor.

Download the Certificate of Fitness Testing for 2017 PDF.

The Fire Marshal’s Office does not  have a dedicated telephone line to update contractors on weather conditions that preclude FDC functionality testing. If a contractor believes the weather will present a freezing or safety hazard, they may contact Paul Hartje at (516) 573-9913 to postpone the test to another date.


N.Y. University Hospital Fire Extinguished Via FDNY and Operative Fire Suppression Equipment

NYU Medical CenterNew York, USA (January 5th 2017) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

From: New York Fire Sprinkler Council, a division of the Mechanical Contractors Association of New York, Inc.

A two-alarm fire requiring over 100 New York City Firefighters erupted through a construction site at a NYU Langone Medical Center building in Manhattan on First Avenue & East 30th St. on Dec. 14. The fire was controlled in under an hour by FDNY Firefighters who were able to tap into the water supply because of a functioning temporary standpipe installed by Sirina Fire Protection Corp., a member of the New York Fire Sprinkler Council.

There were no patients or offices currently located inside what will be dedicated as the Kimmel Pavilion, a new 830,000-square-foot wing set to open in 2018. A video shot from an adjoining building shows how significant the fire was.

Sirina Fire Protection Corp. employs Steamfitters Local 638 union labor, which has been working at the construction site to install the Kimmel Pavilion’s fire suppression system in early stages of construction.

“The standpipe at NYU’s Kimmel Pavilion wing was activated and in working condition, otherwise the consequences could have been fatal for our workers, responding New York City Firefighters, as well as hospital patients and staff in neighboring buildings,” said Dennis Delgandio, Steamfitters Local 638 Foreman for Sirina Fire Protection Corp. at the worksite. “Life-or-death instances such as this are perfect examples of how crucial it is for New York’s construction workforce to be significantly trained when installing life-saving fire equipment.”

Local 638 members complete a five-year apprentice program to learn how to design, install and maintain fire sprinklers, piping, heating and cooling systems for tens of thousands of buildings across New York.

A fatal 2007 Deutsche Bank fire bares similarities to the NYU blaze, and is a reminder of the importance of having a properly installed standpipe. That building was under demolition when it caught fire, and more than 100 firefighters were trapped inside, including two who died of cardiac arrest from smoke inhalation.

At the Deutsche Bank Building, investigators and fire marshals found numerous safety violations, including that the standpipe had been cut, resulting in an inability to deliver water to FDNY members on or near the fire floor. The tragedy resulted in the passing of four new laws in New York City that strengthened requirements for the inspection and maintenance of standpipes and sprinklers in buildings under construction.

“Following the Deutsche Bank Building fire, members of the Mechanical Contractors Association of New York served on a committee to make recommendations that would change the way the city looked at future construction, alterations and demolition sites. Today, the strengthened inspection, testing and maintenance standards can be largely credited for saving lives and reducing property damage, and the NYU Kimmel Pavilion fire is a significant example,” said Tony Saporito, Executive Vice President at the Mechanical Contractors Association of New York.

About the New York Fire Sprinkler Council

The Council is dedicated to educating and informing our New York City and Long Island communities and public officials regarding the vital role fire sprinklers play in protecting lives and property. Our mission is to increase awareness regarding the benefits of installing and maintaining fire sprinkler systems and to promote the fire sprinkler trade as a specialty within the mechanical contracting industry.

Photos courtesy of Twitter users @Caro, @Juggiefresh845 & @GitaMcCheetah 

Media Contact: Butler Associates Public Relations

Tom Butler 646-213-1802 / TButler@ButlerAssociates.com

Kaylyn Alexander 646-213-1366 / KAlexander@ButlerAssociates.com

STORY SOURCE: https://www.prbuzz.com/business-entrepreneur/401111-n-y-university-hospital-fire-extinguished-via-fdny-and-operative-fire-suppression-equipment.html

IMAGE SOURCE: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:NYU_Medical_Center,_entrance.jpg


MCA Executive Vice President Talks Lessons from Oakland’s Fire Tragedy

Ghost Ship warehouseMCA Executive Vice President pens important opinion piece on the  necessity of building owners to adhere to NYC life safety code requirements. Lessons from Oakland’s fire tragedy for NYC property owners at Crains New York Business.

The recent deadly Ghost Ship warehouse blaze in Oakland was one of the worst structural fires in this country in the past decade, claiming 36 lives. As investigations move forward, one of the key questions forensic investigators will address is what safety measures could have been taken to prevent such a loss of life?

In the wake of this tragedy, there have been nationwide crackdowns on illegally occupied buildings and venues in cities including Baltimore, where dozens of artists were evicted from a building called the Bell Foundry, and Denver, where inspectors discovered fire-code violations at the popular venue Rhinoceropolis. There have also been investigations of event spaces in Nashville, Dallas, Austin, New Haven, Indianapolis and Dubuque, Iowa.

New York landlords and owners of industrial warehouse should extract sobering lessons from the Oakland calamity. Often in advance of future real estate redevelopment, such assets are leased out on a temporary basis to offset costs. Should any tenant use a space in an illegal manner or disable building or fire-safety equipment required by law, owners face stiff criminal and civil liability.

Disasters often serve as the impetus for new and strengthened regulations and enforcement. Consider the tragic New York City fires in 1975 at the Blue Angel nightclub and in 1990 at the Happy Land Social Club, which killed seven and 87 people, respectively. These devastating tolls are among the reasons for strengthened city regulations, including occupancy limits, exit signs, smoke detectors and sprinkler systems.

As Oakland officials continue their investigation, it is unclear what mandated fire protections were in place. The city of Oakland had no inspection records for 30 years of the 10,000-square foot warehouse, which apparently had been illegally converted into a residential space inhabited by artists.

The utter necessity of building inspections was brought home tragically on Dec. 18, 1998, when three FDNY firefighters were killed at a high-rise building in Brooklyn’s Starrett City where the fire sprinkler valves had illegally been shut off. Investigations and prosecutions resulted in criminal and civil penalties.

Just three days later, four more people died in a fire in an Upper West Side apartment where the family of actor Macaulay Culkin lived.

Those two tragedies led to Local Law 10, which established stricter inspection and maintenance standards and mandated fire sprinklers in multifamily dwellings with three or more units and for structures undergoing major renovations.

The Oakland fire provides an unfortunate, heart-wrenching lesson for our city’s property owners to always be vigilant and proactive about protecting tenants, regardless of a property’s current usage or value. After all, the road to implementing life-saving safety enhancements came at a grave price.

STORY SOURCE: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20161216/OPINION/161219931

IMAGE SOURCE: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ghost_Ship_warehouse_.jpg